Wednesday, 6 January 2010

The 21st Century Housewife's© Leek and Ham Risotto with Cherry Tomatoes


This recipe is delicious – perfect comfort food for this time of year – and you probably have most of the ingredients for it already in your store-cupboard and freezer. In fact, it is a great way to use up any leftover ham you might still have tucked away in the freezer after the Holidays. If by any chance you don’t have any ham left, just buy a thick slice from the deli counter and chop it up. Don’t worry if cherry tomatoes are too pricey or not available. You can either chop ordinary tomatoes up finely and use them instead.

Risotto does require pretty much constant attention and stirring, but not much effort, and as it only takes about twenty minutes or so to make. This is why it is one of my favorite quick and easy dinners. Risotto is quite rich, so servings do not need to be all that big (in fact this recipe wills serve at least four hungry adults). You don’t really need to serve anything with this, although I’m sure no one would complain if you served some nice hot rolls or a small green salad alongside it.

2 tbsp butter
3-4 leeks, thinly sliced and washed and drained thoroughly
2 cups Arborio or other risotto rice
1 glass white wine
1 litre hot chicken stock
½ cup frozen peas
½ cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 cup cooked ham, chopped in bite sized pieces
¼ cup light cream

Melt the butter over low to medium heat in a large frying pan. Add the leeks and sauté until they begin to soften. Add the rice and stir to coat with the buttery leek mixture. Cook for a minute or so, but don’t let the rice start to brown at all. (Turn the heat down a bit if it starts to do that.)

Add the white wine and stir in until it absorbs. Now add the stock gradually, stirring after each addition until absorbed. Once you have added all the stock, the rice should be cooked, but still “al dente”, with just a little bit of bite.

Stir in the peas, cherry tomatoes, ham and cream. Cook, stirring pretty much constantly, until the cream has absorbed and the peas, tomatoes and ham are heated through.

Serve on warmed plates.

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