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Ham and Cheese Risotto – This recipe is the perfect hearty

Ingredients
1 cup button mushrooms, chopped
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped shallots
2 cloves minced garlic
1/3 cup butter, cubed
1-1/2 cups uncooked arborio rice
1 cup dry(ish) white wine
3 cans (14-1/2 ounces each)Chicken Broth, warmed
1-1/2 cups diced fully cooked ham
5 ounces asiago cheese, shredded
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper

Directions

•In a soup pot, saute the mushrooms, shallots and garlic in butter for 3-4 minutes or until tender.

•Stir in rice until completely coated with butter. Add wine; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until wine is absorbed. Gradually add the broth; 1/2 cup or a little more at a time. Cook and stir until each addition is absorbed. Stir in the ham, cheese, salt and pepper; cook until cheese is melted and mixture is heated through. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley, if desired. Yield: 8 servings.

8 Servings Prep/Total Time: 30 min.

METHOD

I heated 1/3 cup of butter in the bottom of a soup pot (the high sides come in handy with all of the stirring that is required to create risotto), then added in diced shallot, chopped mushroom, and minced garlic. Saute until tender. Then, stir in 1-1/2 cups of arborio rice until coated with the butter. Next, I stirred in 1 cup of a fairly dry white wine. I used a drinkable, yet inexpensive Chardonnay. I have learned my lesson when cooking with wine. It goes like this: If I wouldn’t drink it, don’t even bother cooking with it. The flavor does not improve upon cooking. Cook and stir until the wine is absorbed. While all of the chopping and sauteing were happening, I was also heating some chicken broth on the stove top. Keeping the broth hot is important because it helps to maintain an even temperature while cooking the risotto. Adding cold liquid to hot rice lengthens the cooking time.I add the broth to the risotto ladle by ladle (or 1/2 cup at a time)…and then stir, stir, stir, over the heat until the liquid is absorbed. Then add more broth and stir, stir, stir, some more. Repeat and repeat again until ALL of the broth is absorbed into the rice. Here’s the goal: a VERY creamy, near-tender rice. Vigilant stirring lends itself to a creamy finished product.Some people actually refrain from making risotto either because it seems complicated or they don’t want to stand by the stove for all of this stirring. Here’s the thing: Once you realize you’re mostly committed for 20 minutes of hovering over the pot and stirring, it’s no big thing. Plus, if you’ve ever tasted a good, creamy risotto, then you know that taking a mere 20 minutes out of your day to stir a pot is totally worth it. Once all of the liquid is absorbed into the rice, then add in 5 oz. of shredded cheese. (The original recipe called for fontinella, but I got a great deal on an acceptable substitute: Asiago, at my local ALDI store.) Whatever you choose to use, stir until it melts. Then stir in 1-1/2 cups of chopped ham. I just used whatever was on sale from my local deli, but if you’ve got leftover ham from Christmas or Easter, this recipe would be a delicious way to use it up!In about 30 minutes, dinner was served! I sprinkled mine with a little fresh parsley. It was yummy. Like I said, stick-to-your-ribs comfort food! Often, risotto is a side dish, but this one is hearty enough to be the main course. I’d recommend serving it alongside a salad.

By Krista’s Kitchen.
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You can see the recipe here: cookingwithkrista.blogspot.com
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