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Baked Ham Risotto

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Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups arborio rice
6 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups chopped ham
1-1/2 cups frozen baby peas, thawed
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter

Baked Ham Risotto

  • Serves 6
  • Medium

About This Recipe

I came late to risotto. In the small town where I grew up, pesto was considered exotic. The Italian restaurants offered pizza and spaghetti and not much else.

When I was 15 I read a cookbook that included a recipe for risotto, and I wanted to make it right away. So I asked my mom to get arborio rice, the short-grain rice that is used to make this classic recipe. But our local grocery stores didn’t stock this type of rice.

I made the recipe with long grain rice. And it was good! In fact, my recipe for Chicken Risotto (which will be posted later here) is still one of my favorites.

When the internet made online shopping possible, one of the first things I purchased was arborio rice. This short grain rice makes perfect risotto because as it cooks, it releases a type of starch that thickens the liquid the rice is cooking in. There’s nothing creamier or more indulgent than a well made plate of risotto.

Most risotto recipes cook on the stovetop. You need to stand there and stir pretty much constantly for about half an hour. It’s a good idea to have someone you like talking to in your kitchen for this type  of recipe!

This recipe is made in the oven. I wasn’t sure that a risotto cooked in the oven would be good, but the rice still releases its starch as it cooks, even in the oven.

You can make this recipe with shrimp, or cooked sausage, or small meatballs, or with no meat at all, for that matter.

Enjoy every bite.

Why this recipe works:

  • As the risotto cooks in the oven, the liquid moves around as it is simmering, so the rice is manipulated. This is similar to making no knead bread: the oven does all the work.
  • The starch in arborio rice is called amylopectin. This type of starch has lots of branches, which means that as it is released it captures more liquid. Ordinary long grain rice contains more amylose, a straight starch with fewer branching, so it cooks up fluffy.
  • The recipe does have to start on the stovetop, so you need a large ovenproof pan.

Steps

1
Done

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

2
Done

In a large heavy ovenproof skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic; cook and stir for 3 to 5 minutes or until tender.

3
Done

Add the rice; cook and stir for 3 to 4 minutes. Then add the broth, thyme, salt, and ham. Bring to a simmer.

4
Done

Then put heavy duty foil over the pan, and top with the lid. Put into the oven.

5
Done

Bake for 20 minutes, then carefully remove the pan from the oven, remove the foil and lid, and stir. Add the peas and stir. Add the foil and lid again and return it to the oven.

6
Done

Bake for 5 to 8 minutes longer, then remove from the oven. Taste the rice: it should be tender but still slightly firm in the middle. If it isn't, add the foil and lid again and bake for another five minutes.

7
Done

Then stir in the cheese and butter. Cover the pan and let stand off the heat for 5 minutes. Stir again and serve.

lindaBest

lindaBest

Linda is a home economist who has authored 43 books (42 cookbooks and Medical Ethics for Dummies) since 2005. She has worked for Pillsbury since 1988, on the Bake-Off and other projects. Linda has been a web presence since 2002, developing recipes and teaching people how to cook.

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