Risi Bisi al Forno con Pancetta Croccante
Oven Baked Rice & Peas with Crispy Bacon
Oh, I know what you are thinking and you are right, this isn't a particularly Christmassy dish to be signing off with this year- but alas- the only things I had left in the fridge were bacon, celery, a carrot an onion and the few leaves of parsley- and now it is EMPTY! Thank heavens I had some rice and frozen peas so I could make this thing work- and surprisingly tasty it turned out too!
I thought of doing a risotto, but decided against it and made this pilau-styled version using Basmati rice instead. I wanted to do something I could just push into the oven and forget about, something that would be warming and delicious and easy- though not necessarily in that order!
So- I popped my dish into the oven for 10 minutes- to get the oven warm and the dish hot. Then I popped in some finely diced bacon, celery, carrot, onion and garlic and back in the oven it went for 2-3 minutes to start it bubbling away. In the meantime I boiled some water, chopped a handful of parsley um finely, including the stems and prepared the frozen peas and bacon slices so that I could put everything together... the rest is very quick and easy!
Take the hot dish with the sizzling bacon, and other ingredients out of the oven and stir in the rice, peas and parsley Stir well and then grate with nutmeg,sprinkle with salt, pepper and a little chili and pour over some boiling water, just enough to cover the rice. Lay the bacon on top and then cover with aluminum foil and return to the oven for 15 minutes at a moderate heat.
The rice will steam nicely and take in all of the flavors of those finely chopped vegetables, onion and garlic. The bacon will cook and give off its juices into the rice and everything will fluff up nicely. After 15 minutes, remove the foil and return the dish to the oven for a further 3-4 minutes under the broiler to get the bacon crispy and delicious.
A few more leaves of fresh parsley for looks and I was ready to rumble! The bacon was crispy and the top layer of rice had a light crunch to it too, but underneath the rest of the rice and peas was steamy-hot and delicious- mixing the parsley in was great- the leafy texture along with the crispy bacon and fluffy rice was excellent!
So having invited you to join me for my last meal online for this year, I wish you all a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! May your dreams come true, your meals be delicious and may your computers be tuned to this blog in 2012! Look forward to seeing you then!