Wednesday, August 19, 2009

184. Risotto with Peas and Prosciutto (p. 255)

Maybe it's because she's had such a restrictive diet for the past seven months, or maybe it's because we're on vacation, and she's decided to let her hair down a bit, but, almost out of the blue, my wife - who hasn't eaten beef or pork in years - said to me, "You know, I think that I'd be willing to eat prosciutto."

Prosciutto? Really? Not a nice ribeye? Or bacon? But hey, I'm going to go with it because, after all, prosciutto is a gateway meat.

So, I went straight to The Book and picked this recipe for Risotto with Peas and Prosciutto.

Risotto is one of those dishes that has a reputation for being difficult or fussy. But it's really easy, and doesn't take a whole lot of time. All it takes is a little bit of attention and some stirring. But, it's actually kind of relaxing to spend about twenty minutes gently stirring Arborio rices and watching it get creamy and delicious-looking.

The preparation is very easy, too. First, I put some store-bought chicken broth in a pot and brought it to a simmer. I measured out a cup of frozen baby peas and set them aside to thaw. I chopped a small yellow onion. I cut up some sliced prosciutto and grated some Parmigiano-Reggiano and set them aside.

Then, I melted some butter in a pan, and cooked the onions for a few minutes. I added the rice and cooked it with the butter and onions for a minute. Next, I added some white wine and simmered it until the wine was absorbed. Then, I started adding the hot chicken stock, about a half cup at at time, stirring until absorbed before adding some more. After about twenty minutes, I had used all of the stock, and the rice was al dente and nice and creamy. I stirred in the peas, cheese, a bit more butter and some salt and pepper.

The Book also calls for a 1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest and three tablespoons of chopped parsley. I forgot to pick these two items up at the grocery store. As I mentioned, I'm on vacation this week, and a little out of sorts. Lemons and parsley are the kinds of things that I always have in my kitchen, but of course, I'm not in my kitchen. I'm sure that the lemon and parsley would have given this risotto a nice bright clean note, but even without it, it was delicious. Rich and creamy, with the sweet, crisp peas, and the salty bite of the prosciutto. An excellent weeknight meal, vacation or not.

And now that we've breached the no-meat border, the possibilities are endless. I'm going to keep on working on her. Who knows, I might have her eating The Book's Beef Wellington before you know it.

Date Cooked: August 15, 2009
Degree of Difficulty: Medium
Rating: A-

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