Oven-Baked Risotto Carbonara

Oven-Baked Risotto Carbonara

I love pasta with carbonara sauce so much that one day I thought I’d try it with a risotto - same ingredients: pancetta (a strong-flavored Italian bacon), eggs, and sharp Pecorino cheese. The result is amazingly good and got one of the highest votes from the crew when we were filming.

Serves 2

1 1/4 cups carnaroli rice
3/4 cup chopped bacon or pancetta
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
3 oz finely grated Pecorino Romano, plus some extra for sprinkling
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons crème fraîche
salt and freshly ground black pepper

You will also need a round ovenproof dish with a diameter of 9 inches, 2 inches deep, placed in the oven when it’s preheated.
preheat the oven to 300°F.
First of all, place a large frying pan over medium heat and, when it is hot, fry the pancetta or bacon in its own fat for 4-5 minutes, until it’s crisp and golden, then remove it to a plate. Next add the butter to the pan, then the onion; turn the heat down to low and let the onion soften in the butter for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the stock in a small saucepan. Then return the pancetta or bacon to the frying pan and stir in the rice, moving it around until all the grains are coated with the buttery juices. Now add the hot stock to the rice along with some salt and freshly ground black pepper. Let it all come up to a gentle simmer, then transfer the rice mixture to the warmed ovenproof dish. Stir it once and then bake, without covering, on the center shelf of the oven and set a timer for 20 minutes.
When the time is up, gently stir in the Pecorino, folding and turning the rice grains over; then set the timer for a further 15 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk the egg, egg yolks, and crème fraîche together, then remove the risotto from the oven and gently stir in this mixture, making sure it is well mixed. Leave the risotto for about 2 minutes by which time the eggs and crème fraîche will have thickened - but no longer or it will get too thick. Serve on warm plates with some more Pecorino Romano sprinkled on top.

My husband and I love risotto and this recipe sounds womderful but I have never heard of this type of rice? What is it and where can I find it? Can arborio be substituted?

yes it can -

Carnaroli rice

Grandi Riso speciality is Carnaroli rice from the super fine rice group. Carnaroli rice is particularly suitable for risottos due to a grain rich in amylum starch, which contributes to its notable firmness. Carnaroli rice has a large and long grain. Carnaroli rice is perfect for exquisite rice dishes. Carnaroli is appreciated by professional chefs and recommended for risottos and fine dishes. Carnaroli is a rice suitable also for rice salad and rice timbale.

Carnaroli rice is rich in amylose, a substance which contributes to the grains notable firmness. The Carnaroli rice, a premium quality rice, is the king of the italian rice considering its characteristics of optimal equilibrium between absorbing flavours and little loss of starch that guarantees perfect cooking. An original idea to cooking Carnaroli rice is the strawberry rice. Carnaroli rice is available vacuum packed and in cello bag. [carnaroli rice recipes, refined carnaroli rice, carnaroli rice processing, Grandi riso carnaroli]

The other white rice. Say “risotto” and most American cooks automatically think Arborio, but according to Carol Field, writing in her cookbook Celebrating Italy, “risotto-crazed…Italians, always in search of the newest, the finest, the most chic and recherché, currently prefer Carnaroli because of its firm grain.” Carnaroli comes from Novara and Vercelli, two towns between Milan and Turin that contribute to Italy’s status as Europe’s largest rice-producer. Actually, there are a number of superfino-grade Italian rices with the high starch content that gives risotto its characteristic creaminess-Vialone Nano is another favorite. All these varieties have short, plump grains.