We’ve been basking in gorgeous 70-degree weather for the past couple of days in Boston, and I’ve been enjoying everything that comes with it: drinks outside on a sunny patio, the return of Boston’s bike share program, and commuting to school along the Charles river. But the weather’s dipped back down to the mid-40s and I’m back to wearing scarves and my winter coat. Yesterday was overcast, gloomy, and grey. So while it’s still appropriate to put together a wintry, comforting risotto, I wanted to share this with you.
I love the playfulness of this dish, the blending of breakfast and dinner. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a big fan of dishes that combine a hearty starch (like this, this or this), and bacon & eggs risotto is a great addition to that list. The saltiness of the bacon pairs well with the smoothness of the egg in a classic, familiar combination, but the creamy arborio rice lands this dish firmly in the category of filling, satisfying dinners.
The risotto is made first and the eggs are fried in batches separately, just before serving. Cook the eggs just until the white are set and no longer liquid or runny, but take the eggs off the heat before the yolks are set. You’ll want to cook these eggs less well-done than if you were eating them on a Saturday morning with toast. Place each egg atop a nest of risotto: you’ll want to break the yolk and turn it into a sauce of sorts. David and I ate about half of the risotto for dinner, and we’ll save the second half for leftovers tomorrow. To reheat, I’ll add the rice and onion mixture to a skillet and rewarm over medium-low heat, but I’ll make a fresh batch of fried eggs.
Bacon & Eggs Risotto
6 slices thick-cut bacon
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 cups of chicken broth + 2 or more cups of water
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
4 large eggs
1. Bring broth and water to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Keep it warm throughout the cooking process and gradually add more water if you need more liquid.
2. On a cutting board, chop the raw bacon strips into roughly 1/2 to 1-inch pieces. Add the chopped bacon to a 12-inch skillet, turn the flame to medium heat and cook it until it crisps, about 5 minutes. It will continue to crisp after you remove it from heat, so be careful not to overcook here. Transfer the bacon to a plate covered with a paper towel to drain.
3. Drain off all but 1 tablespoon of bacon fat into a small bowl and set aside. Combine the 1 tablespoon bacon fat, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and chopped onion in the 12-inch skillet and cook until the onion softens, about 4 minutes, stirring often.
4. Add the arborio rice to skillet and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until the edges of the rice grains start to change color and become translucent, but the center remains white. Add the white wine and cook until the rice absorbs the liquid, about another 2 minutes.
5. Once the rice absorbs the wine, add more liquid to the skillet by spoon in the warmed broth to the skillet in 1/2-cup increments. Stir each addition into the rice until it is fully absorbed before adding the next 1/2 cup (about 3-5 minutes between each addition). Stir frequently and repeat these additions until the rice is tender and al dente and the sauce develops a creamy texture. This takes about 30 minutes, and I usually add about 3-4 cups of liquid.
6. Stir in the cooked bacon and grated cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm over low heat.
7. In a smaller frying pan, heat a small amount of olive oil over medium-high heat. Crack two eggs into the pan and cook until the whites have fully set but the egg yolks are still a bit runny, about 3-4 minutes. Flip the eggs over if you prefer over-easy rather than sunny-side-up eggs. Because the egg yolk serves as a sauce for the risotto, be sure not to overcook the egg yolks.
8. Plate two servings of risotto into bowls and top each with a fried egg. Season to taste and serve immediately.