CLASSIC pasta risotto with peas and prosciutto
(and a bacon alternative)
         

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This is a risotto that should be a little more creamy than normal. Because it is basically Venetian, using Vialone Nano rice would be appropriate. It is an ideal spring risotto, when the first fresh peas are available.

For the same recipe with bacon, go below to the alternative.

Ingredients:

  • two cups of Arborio rice (or the two other approved varieties)
  • two cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
  • six cups of chicken stock
  • one small onion, finely diced
  • four tablespoons of olive oil
  • one-half cup dry white wine
  • three ounces of prosciutto, cut into very small squares (about the same size as the peas)
  • one cup celery, also finely chopped
  • two cups of fresh peas
  • one-half cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • three tablespoons of butter, unsalted
  • salt (maybe) and freshly ground pepper

to cook: (a more detailed and elaborate description of the risotto cooking technique can be found at how to cook risotto).

Bring the stock to a slow simmer in a pan next to the risotto pan. In a thick-bottomed pan (the risotto pan), over medium-high heat: add the olive oil. Add the garlic, onion, the celery and the prosciutto. Cook until slightly soft but not brown. Add the rice and stir until each grain is coated with the oil. Add the white wine. Cook and stir until it is absorbed by the rice, about two minutes. Now add the hot stock, ladle by ladle, only adding another ladle when the previous ladle of liquid has been absorbed, stirring almost all of the time.

At about fifteen minutes, while the rice is still quite firm, add the peas and some turns of freshly ground pepper. The continue adding the stock, about another five to seven minutes, until the rice is tender but chewy: it should be creamy but not so moist that it is runny.

Take off the heat. Stir in the parmesan, and the butter. Now taste for salt and add a half teaspoon if needed. (We find the prosciutto frequently negates the need for more salt). Stir again. We let it sit, covered, for a minute or two. Serve.

>>Bacon alternative:

Use six ounces of lean bacon, diced. In a skillet cook the bacon over a medium heat until fairly crisp, about six minutes. Drain on paper towels. Reserve the bacon fat.

In the steps above, after adding the peas, add a ladle of stock and then the reserved bacon. Continue to finish the risotto until proper al dente.

After taking the risotto off the heat (above), stirring in the parmesan and butter, you can also stir in a tablespoon of the reserved bacon fat.

Let it sit, covered, for a minute or two and serve.

 

 

 


 

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