What makes a great risotto?
The secret to a great risotto (apart from the 20 minutes of patience it takes to stir it) is the stock and using good quality rice such as Arborio or Carnaroli. If you don’t have any of those ingredients, make something else for supper. If you do, you’ll be rewarded with a delicious treat. Make sure you put your plates on to warm so they are just right before you are ready to serve as this doesn’t take long to make.
Pea & Ham Risotto
This is quite possibly my favourite of all risottos. I like it with a squeeze of lemon before serving, just to cut the richness.
Serves 4 to 6
Equipment: a large wide base frying/sauté pan for the risotto, a saucepan for heating the stock.
Takes: 10 minutes prep, 20 minutes stirring.
- 400g risotto rice
- 400g chopped cooked ham
- 1 litre of ham stock
- 50g frozen petits pois
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 70g butter
- 3 finely chopped shallots
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed to a paste
- 2 sticks of celery, de-strung and finely chopped
- 100ml Noilly Prat for preference or dry white wine
- Maldon sea salt and pepper
- 80g grated Parmesan cheese
How to make it
- Firstly, heat the stock but don’t let it boil.
- Heat the oil in the sauté pan and sweat the shallots and celery for a few minutes until they are translucent and soft and then add the garlic paste.
- On a medium heat, add the rice and coat it with the oil for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the vermouth and keep stirring to cook off the alcohol whilst leaving the flavour.
- Add the first ladle of stock and keep stirring. As each ladle is absorbed, add another and then another. Taste for seasoning – you won’t need to add much salt if the ham stock is salty.
- Keep stirring and the heat at medium. The liquid must be absorbed slowly or the outside will be soft and the inside will be too hard. A little ‘al dente’ bite is what you’re aiming for not crunch. Keep adding stock until it’s gone – a little bite is what you’re aiming for but not a crunch. The risotto should be slightly liquid not dry.
- When it tastes ready, stir in the ham and peas to warm through, take it off the heat. Finally, stir in the Parmesan cheese and the butter.
- Serve immediately on warmed plates dressed with a little olive oil and a squeeze of lemon.
For more of my tasty supper recipes check out my recipe book on amazon Kindle.