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Risotto, Conquered: Roasted Asparagus and Ham Risotto with Truffle Oil

February 20, 2007

Asparagus, Ham, Peas, Risotto

This past weekend, I decided to tackle risotto once again. My previous attempts had been abject failures, but I’m the kind of lady who is determined to figure things out, at least in the kitchen. Thankfully, this time I cooked with Mr. X, who’s masterful knowledges lead the way to risotto victory. This time, it was perfect: creamy and flavorful, and actually cooked all the way through, which is something you generally want with grains, I think.

What was my problem? A lack of recognition that restaurant low-level heat is a lot different from home kitchen low-level heat.

I debated about putting my basic risotto recipe up here, and decided against it. There are a million basic risotto recipes in every Italian cookbook and website in the world, and the recipe I have already here is essentially correct. It was only my technique that needed refinement. The asparagus and ham were drizzled with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roasted in a 350F oven for about 15 minutes. The peas (about 1 cup) were added frozen at the same time as the cheese, and they cooked up quickly. The truffle oil was added after it was served, with a little bit of extra cheese. I used romano cheese instead of parmesan, but otherwise, it was all exactly the same.

More risotto

The difference was this: Mr. X turned the heat up just a bit, so it was what I would consider medium-low, but which would be low in a restaurant. He said you want the broth and risotto mixture to bubble just a little bit while it’s cooking; if it’s too low, it just won’t be hot enough to cook the rice. Add in broth about 1/4 to a 1/2 cup at at time. It’s ok to let it sit and absorb for a little while. You want to bring it to a point where you think it just might scorch on the bottom, but not quite.

This was all a surprise to me, and initially I was skeptical. It seemed counter to everything I had read, but it turned out so much better than any of my previous attempts that in the end, I had to cede to his superior kitchen knowledge. Most certainly wouldn’t be the first time.

Now I’m just excited to try it again, solo, and to play with all kinds of crazy variations. Hopefully, the cooking magic that Mr. X imparted to me will stick, and next time it will be just as good.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 21, 2007 10:28 am

    I love making risotto now, it’s so versatile, you can add all sorts of flavours to it and people are always impressed if you serve them risotto. Yours looks perfect!


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