One of my favorite dishes to make at dinner parties has to be risotto. The limited ingredients and ease of making the dish always provides a show stopping, elegant dish that has everyone raving. The best part is it does not have to be expensive to make. In fact, risotto is just a basic few ingredients including Arborio rice, chicken broth, white wine, and parmesan. The rest if up to you on how you want to add the flavor. I love the creaminess of a good carbonara pasta. The saltiness from the pancetta really makes it delicious! So I thought, why not combine the two? This recipe is rich and creamy, and the perfect base to any protein!
For my recipe the first thing I started cooking was the bacon. Pancetta and bacon are very similar. They have a savory and salty flavor, but pancetta is diced into cubes where as bacon is strips. They are in the same family, so substituting bacon is a simple and cost effective swap! I diced my bacon and put it into my large pot! Cook your bacon until it becomes nice and crispy! Remove the bacon and set aside. We are going to use the bacon grease to cook our rice, so make sure to leave that into the pot.
Next, you want to add 2 cups of Arborio rice. Do not wash or rice the rice prior. We want the starch to aid in the creaminess of the sauce. Pour in your rice and garlic paste. Give it a quick stir and add 1 cup white wine. This will deglaze the pot of the bacon flavors and incorporate it into rice. It will steam up, so just take caution!
The trick to risotto is you need to watch it. Keep it stirring and add liquid in small portions. The actual cooking process of the rice portion will take you about 30 minutes. Unfortunately, you can not just let it simmer, so keep an eye on it. About every 2-3 minutes add 1/4 cup of broth. I would stir every minute or so. We want the rice to cook slowly so the broth becomes thick and creamy. I added about 3 tbsp of butter throughout the cooking process as well.
You will begin to notice as you stir, how the rice becomes thicker and creamier. In total, I used about 48 oz of chicken broth. You can also make this vegetarian friendly by using vegetable broth and eliminate the bacon and sub mushrooms or peas.
Continually stir and when it is about 3/4 the way done, add in your bacon and parmesan cheese. Once your risotto is thick, and the rice is fully cooked, take it off the heat and let it cool for about 10 minutes. To add to the carbonara effect, we want to add egg yolks to make it even more creamy and delicious. This will elevate your elegant dish even more! Take 3 egg yolks and whisk in a bowl with 1/2 cup parmesan. To your warm, not hot risotto, add them and stir. We are tempering the eggs so it is not too hot. If you were to put the eggs in the risotto immediately after the stove, the egg yolks would turn into scrambled eggs. Give it a nice mix and top off with your desired protein. For garnish, I did a little lemon oil dressed arugula!
Elegant Carbonara Inspired Risotto
- 2 Cups Arborio Rice
- 48 oz Chicken Broth
- 1 Cup White Wine
- 3-4 tbsp Garlic Paste
- 1.5 Cups Grated Parmesan Cheese
- 1/2 Cup Chopped Bacon or Pancetta
- Salt/Pepper to Taste
- 3 Egg Yolks
- First, cook and crisp your bacon or pancetta in your pot.
- Once cooked, remove bacon and leave the grease. Add in your 2 cups of rice and garlic paste. Stir for 15 seconds.
- Next, add your white wine and stir. From here on, we will use chicken broth as our liquid.
- Add liquid 1/4 cup at a time every 2-3 minutes. You will want to stir the rice about very other minute. It is important to watch the risotto. You do not want it to start sticking at the bottom of the pot.
- About 20 minutes in add in your bacon, parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper. The rice over time will continue to absorb the liquid and become softer and creamier. Patience is key.
- Once your rice is fully cooked and the risotto is done, take it off the heat and let it cook about 10 minutes. In the meantime, whisk together your egg yolks and parmesan cheese.
- To the warm not hot risotto, add your egg mixture and stir. This mimics carbonara pasta, so the egg yolks will make the risotto creamy. We are tempering the egg yolks so they gently cook with the risotto, not scrambling then in a super hot pot.
- Plate your risotto as a side to any protein! I used crispy chicken and an arugula salad