June 08, 2011

Tomato Risotto with peas and prosciutto

Soggy rice. That’s what my Dad said to me when I served risotto to the family over the holidays. Insulting? No way. That’s just my Dad. There are a few things he simply does not like, and risotto – much to my dismay – is one of them.

Though it is not one of my Dad’s favourites, there are many of us out here who LOVE risotto. In fact, as someone who likes to dabble in a fair bit of cooking, I think risotto is a very satisfying dish to make. You can get really creative and add pretty much any complementing array of vegetables, herbs and spices. The results are consistently pleasing.

Contrary to popular belief, risotto is NOT hard or complicated to make! I think that the fact you have to be around and pay a little attention to risotto is why a lot of people (including myself) have avoided it.  Well, when I finally tackled it, I found out that it is not hard at all and especially the more you make it – the easier it becomes.

This is the latest risotto that I tried, enjoy!

4 pieces prosciutto
5 cups chicken broth
Pinch of saffron (10 or so threads)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 leek, halved lengthwise and sliced thin
1 ½ cups Arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine
¼ cup tomato paste
½ cup frozen peas
¼ cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
1 tbsp butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Parsley for garnish

1. Crisp prosciutto in pan and set aside. In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, bring the broth to a boil. Add saffron and turn heat to low to keep warm.

When your spoon leaves a line on the pan's bottom,
that's when you know you should add more broth.
2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and leek and stir until softened, about 2 minutes. Add rice, and toss until toasted and it starts to make a clicking sound, about 4 minutes.

3. Add wine and tomato paste and stir until reduced, about 3 minutes. Add a ladle’s worth of the warm broth and stir until the liquid is soaked up and you can run the spoon along the bottom of the pan and see the bottom for awhile before the liquid re-immerses (SEE PICTURE). Continue to add the broth at this rate, and stirring continuously until the risotto is tender and all the liquid has been used, about 20 minutes. With the last ladle of broth, add the peas. 

4. Off the heat,  stir in the parmesan and butter. Top with crisp prosciutto and parsley.

Serve and prepare to take your praise!