Friday, September 14, 2012

Ham and Mushroom Risotto

I love making risotto. It is one of my go to staples in the house because as long as you have stock, wine, and arborio rice you can make any type of risotto with whatever leftover veggies or frozen veggies you happen to have on hand. My husband is also a huge fan of my risottos. Tonight he has announced he will be making a risotto and I am to give him the ingredients for it. Now risotto is not hard but you do have to babysit it a bit. My husband is the ultimate perfectionist though so I am sure it will be fantastic! (He made us Paula Dean fried chicken last night with home made mashed potatoes that were all To-Die-For!)

We decided on a mushroom risotto so I browsed online for a recipe that had something a little more fun than just mushrooms and I found an awesome looking bacon, mushroom, spinach risotto. I'm going to modify the recipe a bit below.

For Risotto you have 3 phases: Sautte, boil, cheese etc. (DH requested the 3 phase explanation)

4 cups or 1 box stock (chicken or veggie)
desired quantity of ham or bacon (about 8 slices bacon)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tsp thyme
4 minced garlic cloves (we used 6)
8 ounces baby bella mushroom, 4 ounces other wild mushroom ( quantity is not important to be exact)
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine (we ended up putting almost a cup! I like to just cover the contents.)
4 cups chopped baby spinach (or however much you happen to have. If you hate spinach you can use 1 cup peas or 1 cup chopped asparagus. You would just need to through it in a little earlier to cook, maybe when you are half way through your stock)
1/2 cup parmasian or asiago cheese or a blend of both
1/4 tsp pepper

1. In a deep frying pan begin cooking ham (or bacon) until crispy. You can chop it first or wait until later to chop it up.
2. Put veggie or chicken stock on to simmer while ham is cooking.
3. Chop onion and mushrooms while ham is cooking.
4. Remove cooked ham with slotted spoon and add onions and thyme (you may need to add a little EVOO to help if your ham wasn't greasy enough.) Cook on medium about 6 minutes
5. Add mushrooms to the onions, cook about 8 more minutes stirring occasionally
6. Add Garlic (DH loves his garlic so we add it so almost everything) then add rice and stir cooking about 1 minute
7. Add dry white wine. We had a Riesling on hand. Stir until almost all is absorbed into the rice.
8. "Stir in 1 cup hot stock (I use a ladle and eyeball it); cook 4 minutes or until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add remaining stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of stock is absorbed before adding the next (about 25 minutes total)." What does constant mean? You don't have to continuously stir. You can stir, walk away, couple minutes later stir some more while you do other things like wash dishes or give the toddler a snack.
 Cheese etc.
9. Stir in spinach; cook 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in cheese and pepper and ham.

The reason you stir risotto a lot and use a special rice is to really bring the starches out of the rice into whatever you are cooking. You will notice at the end that the final product will really stiffen up.

Update: It turned out very, very good! I recommend 1 slice of think cut ham as the quantity, and no salt. There is a lot of salt in several of the other ingredients. I think DH put in 6 cloves of garlic (I told you he liked the garlic) The thyme was a really nice touch. 

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