Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Sunday Suppers' Pea Risotto with Prosciutto and Basil Oil

The first time I made this recipe I followed it closely, only straying by using the white wine we had on hand in place of Vermouth. It was so good and surprisingly easy to make. Brandon and I loved it, Emma nibbled at it and we didn't even try to give it to Austin.

Fast forward to last night when I improvised a bit with ingredients we had on hand and it was just as delicious, maybe even better because I served a roasted piece of salmon on top. Even though it looks like there are a lot of ingredients, don't be deterred! I left out the wine, prosciutto, mascarpone, and the basil oil (only throwing in basil and parsley at the end), and it was still really good. I did miss that level of flavor that the wine provides, but as far as I'm concerned the leek+shallot combo is the real hero of the dish. I'd never really cooked with them both together and I am now a total convert.

We are having a bit of a risotto moment and can't wait to whip up another one with butternut squash. The best part about it is that I think the kids are coming around to the new flavors and the creamy rice really creates a nice texture for them. I think we have another winner!

Pea Risotto with Prosciutto and Basil Oil
from Sunday Suppers

For the Basil oil:
Sea salt
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
½ cup olive oil

For the Risotto:
4.5 to 5 cups chicken stock
6 prosciutto slices
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 twigs lemon thyme
Zest of 1 organic lemon finely grated
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 leek, finely chopped
1 cup (5 ¼ oz; 150 g) cleaned fresh peas (I used frozen)
1.5 cups (10.5 oz; 300 g) Carnaroli or Arborio rice
1/3 cup white Vermouth
1.5 oz (45 g) finely grated Parmesan + more to serve
2 to 3 tablespoons Mascarpone cream or crème fraiche
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley and mint
Lemon juice, to serve

To make the basil oil:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the basil leaves and cook for 15 seconds. Drain and place in an ice water bath. Once cooled, squeeze the excess water and chop coarsely. Transfer to a blender or the bowl of a food processor. Add the olive oil and purée until smooth. Strain through a fine mesh (or chinois) and use immediately, or transfer to an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 3 days.

To make the risotto:
In a pot, heat the stock and set aside.
Using a non-stick frying pan, cook the prosciutto on medium to high heat until crispy. Let cool and then chop coarsely; set aside.
In a large casserole pan, melt the butter. Add the olive oil and when warm, add the thyme and lemon zest. Cook for 1 minute, then add the leek and shallots. Let soften on low heat for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
Increase the heat and add the rice. Coat well for 1 minute before adding the Vermouth. Cook until absorbed, while stirring.
Add 1 cup of warm broth at a time, and wait until it is absorbed before adding more. When you have only 1/2 cup stock left, add the peas and continue to cook until the rice is al dente.
At this point, stir in the Parmesan, cream, and herbs. Stop the heat and cover. Let rest for 2 minutes. Discard the lemon thyme.
Serve the rice in shallow bowls and squeeze a little lemon juice in each plate. Drizzle with basil oil. Top with the shaved prosciutto, and add more Parmesan as needed.

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