Have you ever gotten a dish stuck in your head? One that just pesters you; that stays in the back of your mind and demands to be made.
What if doesn’t even make sense? What if everyone, including you, just thinks it sounds weird? Should you cook it?
Hell yeah you should. You should press blindly ahead, confident in the knowledge that eventually it’s going to be tasty. And if it’s not, well, at least it’ll leave you alone.
That is the beginning to the story of the Baked Potato Risotto. For weeks I couldn’t stop thinking about a crazy fusion between these two canons of supreme starchiness. I don’t know why. To be honest, I really don’t even like baked potatoes that much. And while I love risottos (as you can see by looking here and here) it really isn’t high on my list to cram potatoes into one.
Reservations be damned. I figured if this thing wanted to be made, I’d facilitate the craziness.
To start with, I rendered down a few slices of pancetta. When they were crisp and I had a nice little puddle of fat going, I tossed in five fingerling potatoes that I’d sliced to a medium thickness.
As these softened away, I started to sweat some shallots for the beginning of the risotto. From here it was pretty much business as usual. When the shallots were ready I toasted a few cups of carnaroli, deglazed with white wine and then began the slow process of adding stock a little at a time.
When the risotto was about halfway done, I added in the potato slices and the crumbled pancetta. I wanted to give these flavors plenty of time to come together and work out the kinks.
At the last minute, when all of the elements had reached their ideal textures, I stirred in some chives. Then, off the heat, I finished it with some fresh goat cheese and Lurpak – God’s gift to butter.
And there you have it. Potato(not quite baked) loaded with onions, butter, bacon, chives, and cheese – all in risotto form. As an added bonus, it was actually quite delicious.