The recipe has no pedigree, no sense, and pretty much no rules. It’s what happens when ingredients you love have no place to go, when they stop waiting for a recipe to join and make one up on their own. Leeks stop acting like a supporting player and go all in, using the entirety of the bunch and the entirety of the leek. Even with numbers, their flavor is still soft and delicate; bolstering with rice and stock elevates them to a meal where they aren’t upstaged. From there, the rest is up to you. If you’d like this dish to commit to being a soup, add more stock; if you’d like it more solid, just let it hang out for 10 minutes and it will set up into a sliceable ricecake. You can add more vegetables that have found themselves stranded in your fridge, stir in leftover scraps of meat that you’re trying to use up, or swap out the cheese for what you have on hand. And if the thought of going off book frightens you, just follow the recipe exactly as written. You can be brave next time.
- Begin by prepping the leeks. Fill a large bowl with cold water. Trim the tops and bottoms from the leeks, and remove any outer leaves that look not so great. Cut in half, and put the whites to the side. Slice the leek greens on a bias into thin ¼" pieces, put them in the bowl of water, and swish them around for a while to make sure any dirt trapped in the leaves gets rinsed away.
- Melt butter in a saute pan over medium heat. Use a sieve to remove the floating leek greens from the water, give them a good shake, and throw them in the pan with a hefty pinch of kosher salt. Stir well, then cover and cook for five minutes. While that's going, split the leek whites in half lengthwise, then prep exactly the same way as you did with the greens. When your 5-minute timer is up, throw the whites in the pan, stir, then cover and cook for another five minutes.
- Remove the lid from the pan and turn the heat up to high. Continue cooking the leeks until most of their moisture has evaporated, then add the rice. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the rice gets a bit toasty, then add the white wine and cook for another minute. Stir in the stock, then cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 5-7 minutes, until most of the stock has absorbed but the rice is still very runny.
- Stir in ¾ of the shredded gouda and taste for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper to taste. Crack your eggs into a measuring cup with a spout. Working quickly, use a spoon to part sections of the rice, sliding an egg into each divot before it collapses on itself. Once all 6 eggs are in, cover the pan and continue simmering until the rice has absorbed all the stock and is fully cooked through.
- Preheat the broiler to high. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and broil until it's melted and the eggs look like they're barely set. Top with a generous amount of freshly cracked black pepper.
- You can serve this dish immediately, stirring the still-runny eggs into the creamy rice, or allow to cool for ten minutes and slice into wedges. Remember, it's your recipe. The rules are yours to write.
Allison Robicelli is a D-list celebrity-chef chef, author, humorist, entrepreneur, general polymath, and all-around good time. You may remember her from such places as Food52, Eater, Food Network, VH1, and many other quirky corners of the food Internet. She is the author of the critically acclaimed cookbook/memoir Robicelli's: A Love Story, With Cupcakes, which has been called one of the funniest food-related books of all time. You should buy it.