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Monday, 10 September 2012

Leek and Prosciutto Risotto with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Leeks are plentiful at the moment and I love cooking with them. Risotto is not hard to make it just requires 20 minutes of your undivided attention with continual stirring. You can always pour yourself a big glass of wine and chat to your guests as you make it ! There are a number of oven bake risottos and I haven't tried this one in the oven , purely because I prefer to cook them the old fashioned way !
Although, some steps for this are done in the oven making it a little simpler.
I think the secret to a good risotto is a good strong stock and it must be boiling hot when it hits the rice to keep the cooking going. If you don't make your own there are many great stocks available in store these days other than a stock cube. But by all means use this if you have too, but keep in mind they are quite salty. Try a Massell stock powder instead !
If you prefer pancetta to prosciutto that is fine too, as long as they are thin slices.
How much stock to use is approximate, you may end up using slightly less or more. It doesn't matter. The important thing is for the risotto to be creamy, not too dry or too runny. Do not drown the rice in stock it should only be just covered maybe 1/4 cup at a time , absorb and repeat until done approx 18-20 minutes. This recipe will serve four, it is easy to increase amounts !

300 grams Arborio rice
1 large leek finely sliced
6 slices thin prosciutto
1/2 punnet cherry or truss tomatoes ( if they are small use the lot )
2 large cloves crushed garlic
1 litre chicken stock
80 grams butter
3/4 cup  white wine
2 tablespoons fresh or dried tarragon if fresh unavailable
1 cup finely grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 180C. Place prosciutto and tomatoes on a baking paper, lined tray in the oven for approx 10 mins.
Remove from the oven and break the prosciutto into smallish pieces and set aside.
Place stock in a saucepan alongside the pan you are going to cook the risotto in and bring to the boil.
In the pan  you are cooking the risotto, melt 60 grams of the butter and saute the leek and the garlic with the wine, until soft.
Place the rice into the pan and stir to thoroughly coat in the butter, leek mixture.
Begin ladling the hot stock, about 1/4 cup at a time, and wait until totally absorbed until the next ladle of stock is added, keep repeating and stirring the whole time.
About 5 minutes before finishing, add the tarragon, and stir through.
When the rice is done, turn off the heat and add the prosciutto, the remaining butter, a twist of black pepper and gently toss the tomatoes through trying to keep them whole. If some break up that's fine, but it is quite nice when you are eating to get a burst of tomato every now and again.
Just be careful with salt content, prosciutto and parmesan and stock are all salty !
Serve at once with extra parmesan.

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