Friday, May 20, 2011

Basic Risotto with peas, ham and pea shoots

Basic Risotto
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
5-7 cup vegetable or chicken stock
2 cup chopped onion (can use leeks, shallots)
1 cup dry white wine or pale ale
2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 tbl butter or extra-virgin olive oil to finish

For the Ham, Pea and Pea Shoots

1- 1 & 1/2 cup peas
1 cup chopped ham (or other meat such as prosciutto)
2 cups pea shoots
  1.  Place the broth in a saucepan, heat to boiling. Reduce heat and maintain at a simmer.
  2. Heat oil in heavy-gauge pain. Saute the onion for 10 minutes over low heat, stirring constantly, to make them sweat but do not let them brown.  Add 1/2 cup of the hot broth into the onions and cook for another 5-10 minutes until they are glistening and all the broth has cooked away.
  3. When all the broth has cooked away in the onions, add the rice and saute for another 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly, until the kernels are lightly toasted. Do not let the kernels scorch or color.
  4. Increase the heat to medium and add the wine, again stirring constantly until all the moisture has evaporated. While stirring frequently, add 1/2 cup of the broth and cook until the rice has absorbed most of the moisture. Continue adding broth, 1/2 cupful at a time, stirring occasionally at first then constantly as the risotto thickens.
  5. After about 15 minutes, add the peas and ham to the risotto but continue adding broth as above until the kernels are tender but al dente and the dish has a creamy suspension. This can take anywhere from 5-7 cups of hot broth to accomplish.  Stir in half the cheese, season with pepper and 2 tbl of butter to finish.
  6. Spoon servings onto plates and garnish with pea shoots on top. Garnish with additional grated parmesan cheese.


Almost any vegetable (asparagus, arugula, fresh mushrooms), cheese, sauce or meat can be added to the basic risotto recipe.

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