Serves 6 or more as a first course or side dish
A warm comforting bowl of Riso alla Lombarda—rice and cheese, with egg yolks stirred in for richness—has long been a family favorite in Lombardy, nourishing children for generations. It’s a snap to make anytime and can serve as a lunch dish, a great primo, or a side for grilled chicken. For adult tastes, I suggest stirring in crumbled Gorgonzola along with the eggs and grated cheese. By the way, there’s no need for concern about adding raw egg to the rice, as long as you do it as soon as the pan comes off the stove. The residual heat of the rice is more than sufficient to cook the yolks thoroughly.
- 5½ cups hot water or light stock, plus more if needed
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup grated Grana Padano
- 5 ounces Gorgonzola, crumbled into small pieces (optional)
You will need a heavy saucepan, such as enameled cast iron, 10 inches wide, 3-to- 4- quart capacity, with a cover.
Put the water or stock, the butter, and the salt in the saucepan, set over high heat, and bring to the boil. Stir in the rice, and bring back to the boil.
Cover the pan, and lower the heat so the water is bubbling gently. Cook for about 14 minutes, until rice is al dente with a creamy consistency like risotto, so you can easily stir in the egg yolks. Adjust the consistency if needed (see box).
While the riso cooks, beat together the yolks and olive oil in a small bowl with a fork, then mix in ½ cup of the grated cheese, to form a paste.
When the rice is fully cooked, remove from the heat. Scrape in the egg-and-cheese paste, and stir vigorously until thoroughly amalgamated. Stir in the remaining grated cheese and the crumbled Gorgonzola, if you like, reserving some of the crumbles for a garnish.
Spoon the riso into warm pasta bowls, and serve immediately.