Easter is no exception to holiday leftovers. This ham, pea and onion risotto is the perfect way to clean out the fridge. It’s been a long time since I made risotto. Many years ago, before kids, my husband and I were on a business trip to Venice, Italy. One evening our host treated us to a multi-course dinner. Neither of us had ever had risotto. The creamy, cheesy rice was divine. My husband asked if I could make it. I replied that I had never tried but would look for a recipe.
When we got home I scoured the dozens of cookbooks I had and came up empty. Not one single recipe for risotto. So I turned to the internet and found a recipe for champagne risotto with scallops. Well, I’m not a fan of scallops but we did have some frozen Florida lobster tail in the freezer, so I made it with lobster. It was a huge success. Plus, that recipe began my career with my editor at the former St. Petersburg (FL) Times newspaper. A job that lasted more than 15 years.
Until the kids came along, I made risotto often but because it’s a bit time consuming and you have to babysit the cooking by adding more liquid and stirring frequently, I didn’t make it much. I decided to use up some Easter leftovers to make this recipe that is adapted from a cookbook my Mom gave me- the Williams-Sonoma Risotto cookbook. Unfortunately I don’t think it’s offered in their stores any longer. My youngest, who will try anything, declared it a keeper. It’s filling and perfect for spring with the addition of peas.
Ham, Pea and Onion Risotto
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 yellow onion chopped
- 3/4 pound ham cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 2 cups arborio rice
- 1 1/2 cups frozen baby sweet peas
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Pour the broth into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Adjust the heat to keep hot.
- In a large, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and saute until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes.
- Add the ham and saute until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes longer.
- Add the rice and stir until white spots appear in the center of the grains, about 1 minute.
- Add a ladleful of the stock and adjust the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook stirring constantly until the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes, maybe longer.
- Continue adding the liquid, a ladleful at a time and stirring constantly until the rice starts to soften.
- Add the peas and continue adding liquid, a ladleful at a time and stirring constantly, unit the rice is just tenter but slightly firm in the center. There will be a creamy appearance with most of the liquid absorbed.
- Add the Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Stir well to mix.
- Ham, Pea and Onion Risotto from Family around the Table
- Macaroni and Cheese with Ham from Palatable Pastime
- Jelly Bean Cookies from A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Deviled Ham and Egg Salad from Cooking with Carlee
- Loaded Stuffed Potato Pancakes from Jolene’s Recipe Journal
- Leftover Lamb Pasta Sauce with Eggplant from Caroline’s Cooking