Sunday, March 14, 2010

Basil-prosciutto risotto

risotto (1)

The 2010 March Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Eleanor of MelbournefoodGeek and Jess of Jessthebaker. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make risotto. The various components of their challenge recipe are based on input from the Australian Masterchef cookbook and the cookbook Moorish by Greg Malouf.

Before I get to the recipe, let me tell you about yesterday. It rained. Not just a little, but lets-go-build-an-ark rain. The weather channel said we got 4-6 inches of rain - and it's still raining as I write this. I now have waterfront property and a small indoor pool in my basement which my husband battled until the wee hours. So, with a very wet image in mind, I tell you I bought veal chops to accompany my risotto and Jeff insisted on grilling them. Each time he came in after turning them, his jacket left a puddle on the floor and he had to dry his hair with a towel. But boy were they good. Almost 2 inches thick, I marinated them in garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon zest.

I used the risotto base recipe below and added prosciutto, basil, and paremsan cheese. The creamy texture of the risotto was excellent with the grilled chops. One of the beauties of risotto is its adapatability to different flavors. I happened to have a big bunch of fresh basil, but you can add whatever flavors you have on hand: mushrooms, pumpkin, pancetta, asparagus, peas... the possibilties are endless. I'm always looking for new combinations, so leave a comment with your favorite flavors for risotto!

To complete the meal, I served a salad of romaine and radicchio with celery, baby tomatoes, shaved parmesan, and a dressing I made with garlic, olive oil, sea salt, a few basil leaves, and lemon juice. Light and crunchy, it rounded out the meal nicely.


All in all, a fun and not-too-stressful challenge from the Daring Cooks. (We had enough stress with the weather!)

Basil -prosciutto Risotto

olive oil 2 fluid oz 60 ml
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
rice 14 oz 400g (Any type of risotto rice will do. I use Arborio but the recipe itself says Vialone Nano. Another to look for is Carnaroli.)
white wine 2 fl oz 60 ml
chicken or vegetable stock , simmering 2 pints 1 L
NOTE: Ingredients above make the base - modify as you like from here
6 slices prosciutto, cut into thin strips
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
bunch of fresh basil, larger leaves torn

risotto (4)

1.Heat oil in a pan and add onion. Saute until softened.

2.Add the rice and garlic and stir for a few minutes to coat each grain of rice with oil and toast slightly.

3.Add the wine and let it bubble away until evaporated.

4.Add enough stock to cover the rice by about an inch or two.
5.Cook on medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon from time to time, until most of the stock has been absorbed.

6.Repeat Step 5 making sure to leave aside approximately 100 ml. of stock for the final step. .

7.Repeat, save 100ml for the final stage. Once you are at this point, the base is made. You now get to add your own variation.

8. Stir in the prosciutto and cheese.

9. Just before serving, stir in the basil.


Chicken Stock

1 large chicken about 4 pounds
2 onions, halved
2 sticks celery
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp. peppercorns
2 bay leaves
peel of 1/2 lemon
1/4 tsp. allspice

1.Wash the chicken and place in a 5 Litre pot, cover completely with water and bring to a boil

2.Skim away any scum as it comes to the surface

3.Add the vegetables and bring back to a boil

4.Add the rest remaining ingredients and simmer very gently, uncovered for 1.5 hours

5.Carefully lift out the chicken, set aside. The chicken meat can be removed from the chicken, shredded off and used for other things like soup!

6.Simmer the stock gently for another hour. At , at the end you should have around 2 Liters

7.Carefully ladle the liquid into a fine sieve, the less the bones and vegetables are disturbed in this process the clearer the stock will be. 
The stock is now ready for use. Freeze what you don't need for later use.


Kim said...

Love your flavor combination. Prosciutto is one of my favorite ingredients. Great photos!

Asha @ FSK said...

Love the combination for the risotto.. Simple and elegant and beautiful!

Audax said...

I very impressed that all that rain you could do such a great job. Your basil-prosciutto risotto is so pretty the colours are stunning and I love all the different side dishes you had with it that meat looks so yummy. Well done. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

I like artichoke and goats cheese and really for a sweet version strawberries with balsamic vinegar this is unusually excellent. Yours

Wic said...

wow it looks stunning. I would love to have some.

Jenn said...

The entire meal looks awesome! the risotto, the veal chops, and the salad - beautiful variation on this month's challenge!

ap269 said...

I'm so impressed you braved the weather and finished this challenge. Good job!

culinspiration said...

Mmm, this looks great! As for favorite risottos: the next time you have some leftover veggie-puree soup leftover (asparagus, roasted pumpkin, etc.), stir that in once the rice is done. It's great!

-ChristinaMason (chow)

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