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Risotto Rustica with Prosciutto and Arugula

Risotto Rustica with Prosciutto and Arugula
Neither smoked nor cooked, prosciutto is the rear leg of a pig that has been seasoned, salt-cured and then air-dried to make a prized Italian ham. Every region makes its own version, but the two most famous are prosciutto di Parma and prosciutto di San Daniele. Here, thinly sliced prosciutto provides a savory contrast to the peppery arugula and creamy risotto. Any variety of prosciutto will work well in this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 7 to 8 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 3 cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine, at room temperature
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 6 large, thin slices prosciutto
  • 1 bunch arugula, stemmed
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for serving

Directions:

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the stock to a gentle simmer and maintain over low heat.

In a sauté pan or large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the rice and stir until each grain is well coated with oil and translucent with a white dot in the center, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and stir until it is completely absorbed.

Add the simmering stock a ladleful at a time, stirring frequently after each addition. Wait until the stock is almost completely absorbed (but the rice is never dry on top) before adding the next ladleful. Reserve 1/4 cup stock to add at the end.

When the rice is tender to the bite but slightly firm in the center and looks creamy, after about 20 minutes, remove from the heat and stir in the butter and the reserved 1/4 cup stock. Season with salt and pepper.

Line warmed shallow individual bowls with prosciutto slices. Top with the risotto. Make a well in the risotto and fill with the arugula, tearing large leaves into bite-size pieces. Using a vegetable peeler, shave paper-thin slices of cheese over the top. Serve immediately. Serves 6.

Serving Tip: The elegant way in which this risotto is served—in bowls lined with prosciutto and then topped with arugula and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese—makes it an excellent choice for a colorful and delicious first course at a dinner party.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Risotto, by Pamela Sheldon Johns (Simon & Schuster, 2002).