Friday, September 7, 2012

risotto with peas and prosciutto

I'm surprised I never blogged about Risotto with Peas and Prosciutto before. 
It is a favourite go-to family dinner around here and if you haven't tried it I recommend you do. One of the many reasons we love it (besides being crazy delicious) is because it's a great in-a-pinch dinner as all the ingredients are always on hand. If you don't keep something like prosciutto and parmesan around, wait till they go on sale. They can always be purchased at close to half price, which is when I buy and keep around since both last for ages in the fridge sealed in their original packaging. I didn't find a formal recipe to link to but with risotto, like pizza, you really can add whatever you like. But peas and prosciutto is definitely our favourite. So I'll share the recipe along with a few other tips on how I make it since I'm getting lots of feedback that people are reading this blog and taking my recipe recommendations (thank you!!). I just hope anyone who reads this blog isn't a food expert, because if you are I'm sure you shake your head knowingly as you follow ("why does she insist on freezing her coffee beans, doesn't she know it destroys the bean's natural oils?!"). Yeah, I'm no expert, but I have a few tricks up my sleeve as I cook through my cookbooks.
First, I love to crispy bake prosciutto. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Taking your first baking sheet lined with parchment, layer your prosciutto slices. Then lay a second layer of parchment and top with your second baking sheet. I hope my photo explains it better than my phrasing because after 10 minutes your resulting prosciutto is beautiful, golden and flat!
Of course, you can just cook your prosciutto the way you cook bacon with a skillet, but I prefer the method above. On with the rest of the recipe:
One box of reduced-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
2 tbsp butter
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 c Arborio rice
1/2 c dry white wine (or dry vermouth)
1 c frozen peas, thawed
1/2 c grated fresh Parmesan
1 pkg thinly sliced prosciutto
So my second trick with risotto which I find works a lot better than most standard recipe's instruction is to take your largest measuring cup (in my case a 4 cup pyrex measure) and heat the broth until it's just short of boiling in the microwave. I'll also boil a kettle full of water as part of my prep in case I need more liquid than the broth can provide.
I make risotto in my largest non-stick skillet. Starting over medium heat, melt the butter and add the onion cooking until soft (5 mins or so). Season with salt and pepper. Add rice, stirring for about 2 minutes. Add wine and cook until absorbed. Now is the time to add the hot chicken broth 1 cup at a time (stir until almost all liquid is absorbed before adding more), until rice is tender, 25 to 30 minutes total. Add peas and cook till bright green, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan. And what I like to do with the crispy prosciutto is to snip it with my kitchen shears instead of painstakingly chopping it. I find it easiest to cut it right above, that way there isn't any mess. Serve topped with more cheese.

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