Risotto is something that I truly love making, while my family likes enjoying for lunch or dinner. Let’s be honest, risotto has not been my best friend after the first couple times making it. Now I know, it needs patience and a bunch of love to achieve the perfect combination of taste, moist and frangrance of risotto.
However, once you get familiar with this golden rule, risotto becomes a perfect idea for a healthy family or friends dinner. In my eyes the main point about making risotto is that it has to include rice. That’s it. Simple.
All of the rest ingredients you can feel free to play with, until you find the version of risotto that suits your personal taste the most.
On a hot summer day in the heart of Copenhagen I came up with an idea of kind of ‘refreshing’ risotto, which should include seasonal veggies and bright colours, just as a perfect sunny day.
So I came up with the recipe of this Summer Risotto, which includes a combination of asparagus, peas, smoked organic lean ham, which is infused by the taste of garlic, lemon and mint. Also, just to make it a bit guilty, it has some low fat cheese. Summer is a perfect time for healthy, little bit guilty pleasures, isn’t it?
Makes 4-5 portions
250g rice (preferably Arborio, but I like using Basmati too)
2tbsp olive oil
5 garlic gloves, pressed
450-500ml chicken or vegetable broth
10-15 fresh asparagus spears (depending on size)
250-300g frozen peas
200g extra lean smoked ham
100g shredded low fat Parmesan/Mocarela/Cheddar
a bit of lime juice
salt, pepper, herbs mix, mint, basil
Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped onions and garlic cloves. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and turning into golden colour, it takes about 5 minutes. At the same time you will notice garlic becoming more and more fragrant.
Add rice and stir for a minute to coat with the vegetables and oil. Do not overcook it, remember it is a quick process.
Add the chosen broth, 1 ladle at a time, stirring almost constantly and waiting for the broth to be absorbed before adding more. All in all, this process should take 25 – 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the asparagus: snap off the tough ends, slice the rest of spears into 5cm long pieces. Blanch the prepared asparagus in boiling salted water for 4 to 5 minutes, until soft, but not overcooked. (The bright green colour should remain after blanched). Drain and cool immediately. Set aside.
- Heat another pan and pour in the frozen peas. As the peas become fresh and freeze is gone, add the extra lean smoked ham and asparagus. Cook stirring for 3-5 minutes. Fragrance and taste should spread equally between the ingredients in the pan. You should not overdo this process, use a dry pan and simply combine the three ingredients. Finally, add a bit of salt.
- As rice is almost done cooking, add the peas, asparagus, ham, salt, peppers, herbs, mint and lemon juice. Continue cooking for about 2minutes, until the ingredients are fully combined.
When the risotto is done, turn off the heat and stir in the chosen cheese. Set aside, off the heat, for a few minutes, if necessary sprinkle with salt and pepper.