Cooking Tutorials, Recipes

Ham and Romano Risotto Tutorial

Ham and Romano (or Parmesan) Risotto Tutorial:

You need (feeds 3 or 4):

1 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1.5 litres chicken stock (stock cubes are ok)
80g or thereabouts sliced ham – we use waitrose wiltshire ham- cut into little pieces
25g or so Romano cheese, shredded
300g risotto rice
10 cherry (or 1 medium) tomatoes, chopped (optional)
A few chunks of artichoke hearts in oil, chopped (also optional)
1 tbsp fresh or dried(I use frozen!) parsley (also optional but really very pretty)
Olive oil, 2 tbsp real butter, salt, pepper, paprika (or not)


Stock: Make up your stock and put it in a saucepan on very low heat. You need to keep your stock warm the whole time you’re cooking your risotto because when you add it, little by little, you don’t want to lower the temp every time and wait around till it heats back up to cook your rice. So keep it hot, and get a 1 cup measuring cup handy. Like this:

Oil: Take your butter and about 2 tbsp of olive oil and heat it up in a deep skillet-y type thing.  When it’s melty and blended, chuck your red onion in. When it starts to soften a bit (4-5 minutes), throw in your garlic.

Rice: Cook for another 2 minutes, then throw in your risotto rice and get it all nice and covered with oniony, garlicky oil (maybe 1 minute).
Add Stock: Ok, now you add about 1 cup of chicken stock to the party. It’s gonna bubble like crazy, which is fine, and now you need to start stirring, stirring, stirring! This constant stirring is what makes risotto so creamy, because the constant stirring develops the starches located on the outside of the grains of rice. So if you want really nice risotto, resign yourself to standing and stirring for a half hour or so, and just get all zen about it.

Add about 3/4 to 1 cup of stock at a time. Then stir, stir, stir!

More Stock: When the rice has absorbed most of the stock, it’s time to add more, and stir like crazy. Here’s what mine looked like when I needed to add more stock:

See? When I drag Wendy (the bamboo spoon thingy) through, there’s no liquid. Don’t let it get any drier than this or it might burn – it’s okay to add more stock before it gets to this point! Just remember you’re not making soup…

And here’s what it looks like after I add more stock to the pool:

Keep on truckin’: Keep stirring and adding and cooking over med to med-high heat for about a half hour, depending on how much ‘bite’ you like your rice to have.  When you reach the perfect softness or firmness for you, add about ¼ cup of stock (it’ll be kinda soupy), then add in your ham, romano cheese, salt, pepper, chopped artichokes and parsley and stir in all that goodness till it’s all warmed through.  N.B.: notice I don’t add the tomatoes to the risotto – that’s because Buzz and I like the tomatoes to provide a cold, acidic counterpoint to the salty richness of the risotto, so we sprinkle our tomatoes on top of each portion before we eat it. Awesome.

Start Adding: Add the ham and cheese:

Add the parsley, salt and pepper:

Now you’re ready to chuck the artichokes in and serve tomatoes on top.

So now enjoy the masterpiece you’ve just created, and pat yourself on the back!

*Odd safety tip #232: Store your dirty knives on the ledge behind your sink, blades pointed away from you, to seriously reduce the possibility of accidental cuts:

I love feedback! Please comment or email me and let me know how it went, and feel free to ask for tutorials you want to see – cinnamon rolls? Moist cupcakes? Homemade tacos with homemade seasoning, none of that packet stuff, ick!? Let me know!
Thanks for letting me share my kitchen with you!

© Copyright J C Excell, 2011
All rights reserved

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