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Risotto with Prosciutto and Fresh Peas

from tree to tableThis recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks called “Olive Oil – From Tree to Table” by Peggy Knickerbocker*.  It’s perfect in springtime paired with a crisp salad. Recipe serves 4.


4 – 5 cups homemade chicken stock or canned reduced-sodium, reduced-fat broth

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 leek, white part only, well rinsed and finely chopped

1 cup Carnaroli or Arborio rice

1 1/2 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto, diced

3/4 cup dry white wine

1 cup young, tender shelled peas

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, preferably Parmigiano Reggiano

Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling


Pour the stock or broth into a saucepan and place over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and adjust the heat to keep liquid at a very gentle simmer throughout the making of the risotto.

In a heavy 4-quart saucepan over medium heat, warm the 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the leek and saute until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring often to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom and to make sure all grains are coated with hot oil, for 3 minutes. Add the prosciutto and continue to cook until softened, about 2 minutes longer. Then add the wine and cook, stirring until it is completely absorbed.

Add about 1 1/2 cups of the hot stock or broth to cover the rice barely. Stir to combine the ingredients, reduce the heat, and continue to simmer gently, stirring often. As the rice absorbs the liquid, stir in more simmering liquid, 1/4 cup at a time, stirring often. Continue to add the liquid, waiting until each addition is absorbed before adding more. Do not add more liquid than just enough to form a veil over the rice, and add it slowly. Never rush the process. The amount of stock or broth you will need will vary according to how the particular rice absorbs the liquid.  Do not worry if you don’t need all the liquid.

After about 15 minutes, add the peas.  Cook for 5 minutes more, then add the cheese. Taste for texture and seasoning. The rice should be loose and free of clumps and be firm yet creamy. The balance between liquid and grain is vital: too much stock and the rice will separate; too little and the rice will be sticky.

Transfer to a warmed serving dish and drizzle a little extra-virgin olive oil over the top.  Spoon into warmed shallow soup bowls to serve.


Text Copyright © 1997 by Peggy Knickerbocker, Photographs Copyright © 1997 by Laurie Smith, Cover Photograph Copyright © 2001 by Leigh Beisch. Permission of Use by Chronicle Books LLC (Publisher).


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