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Oven-baked Risotto Carbonara

I just love pasta with carbonara sauce so much that one day I thought I'd try it with a risotto – same ingredients: pancetta, a strong-flavoured Italian bacon, eggs and sharp Pecorino cheese. The result is outstandingly good and got one of the highest votes from the crew when we were filming the How to Cook television series.

 
 
 Oven-baked Risotto Carbonara

  Serves 2

Ingredients
 8 fl oz (225 ml) carnaroli rice
 4½ oz (125 g) cubetti pancetta or chopped bacon
 1 oz (25 g) butter
 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
 1¼ pints (725 ml) chicken or vegetable stock
 3 oz (75 g) finely grated Pecorino Romano, plus some extra for sprinkling
 1 large egg
 2 large egg yolks
 1 heaped tablespoon crème fraîche
 salt and freshly milled black pepper
 Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 2, 300°F (150°C).
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Equipment

You will also need a round ovenproof dish with a diameter of 9 inches (23 cm), 2 inches (5 cm) deep, placed in the oven when it's pre-heated.

This recipe is taken from How to Cook Book One.

Method

First of all, in a large, hot frying pan over a medium heat, 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 gentle 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, after that, stir in the rice and move it around until all the grains get a good coating of the buttery juices. Now add the hot stock to the rice, along with some salt and freshly milled black pepper.

Let it all come up to a gentle simmer, then transfer the whole lot to the warmed dish, stir it once and then bake, without covering, on the centre 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, as it will get too thick.

Serve on warm plates with some more Pecorino Romano sprinkled over.

 

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