This recipe comes from MeatEater Cooks—our new culinary series available on YouTube. In this episode, Chef Jean-Paul Bourgeois and I both share our favorite duck rice dishes.
I first learned this dish when I was a sous chef at Clarklewis in Portland, Oregon, in the early 2000s. I’d never seen a risotto dish like it before and really haven’t since. The key to “Riso alla Pilota” is allowing the rice to steam in its final cooking so the grains are all individualized and fluffy. The sausage could be made with any mix of proteins, although duck and game birds are my personal favorites.
You’ll notice that this recipe is in grams. I learned it from an Italian chef, so obviously he measured everything in metric. The good news here though is that the recipe is all about ratios. Just remember it’s two parts liquid to one part rice and one part sausage. So even if you measure in cups, ounces, or pounds, the recipe will come out perfectly.
- 500 grams Vialone Nano rice
- 1000 grams light chicken, duck, or vegetable stock
- 500 grams wild game pistou
- 125 grams unsalted butter
- 200 grams Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely grated plus additional
- 1 bunch flat leaf parsley
- Black pepper
- Juice of one lemon (optional)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 350 grams boneless duck or gamebird meat
- 150 grams smoked pork bacon
- 5 cloves garlic
- 10 leaves sage
- 1 inch piece peeled ginger
- 1 shallot, peeled and cut into quarters
- Black pepper
- 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Also works with
- Begin by making the pistou. Set up a table top grinder with a medium-coarse plate, along with a bowl of ice and another bowl nestled inside it.
- Keep all ingredients for the pistou, along with the blade for the grinder, as cold as possible until ready to grind.
- Pass all ingredients except salt and pepper through the grinder one time.
- Mix together ground ingredients along with a big pinch of salt and pepper until fully mixed and sticky looking.
- Set this mixture aside until needed, or return to the fridge for up to two days.
- When ready to cook, fry the pistou in the olive oil over high heat to achieve even darkening of the meat. Fully cook and break up the pieces while you fry it. Once it is done set aside the pan and wait until rice is cooked.
- To cook the rice, first bring the stock to a boil in a heavy bottom dutch oven with a lid.
- Once the liquid is at a full boil pour in the rice, stir a couple of times to ensure the grains are not sticking together, and simmer uncovered until only a very small amount of liquid remains on the surface of the rice. Do not stir while it is simmering.
- Once the rice is nearly cooked, and only a small amount of liquid remains, turn the heat off. Place a clean folded kitchen towel on top of the pot and secure it in place with the lid. This will help the final cooking and remove excess steam from the rice. Leave this pot covered for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, remove the lid and fluff the rice with a large fork.
- Add the entire contents of the pistou mixture to the cooked rice, along with the butter, cheese, flat leaf parsley, and a large pinch of salt and pepper.
- Stir to incorporate the mixture and taste for seasoning. Add additional salt and pepper if desired. You may also add the optional lemon juice if desired.
- Serve by drizzling a bit of extra virgin olive oil over each portion and topping with additional cheese. The dish would traditionally be served warm to room temperature.