Cheesy, Salty, Snappy Risotto

Every year for the holidays, one of my husband’s clients gives us a Honeybaked Ham. A nice gesture (who doesn’t like being gifted with pork?), but considering it’s only the two of us, it’s quite a bit of food. And besides, I have food ADD, so eating plain ol’ ham day in and day out isn’t gonna work for me. How the heck am I gonna get creative with all this extra ham?

My brainstorm went something like this:

“Ham…hmmm. Ham and cheese? Yes. Ham and cheese is good. What about mac and cheese with ham? No – too elementary. Risotto? Why yes! Risotto! Maybe toss a veggie or two in there to make it a full meal.”

Brilliant! Because if there’s anything people love more than pork, it’s carbs.

And yes, I’m fully aware that risotto is one of those intimidating foods that scares a lot of people. However, making it is kind of like riding a bike – once you master it, you’re good to go. Plus, the risotto method can be reinvented a million different ways, so it’s a great one to have in your back pocket. That being said, it is a time consuming process, so I tend to make risotto only on weekends when I have more time to dedicate to cooking. But it’s so, so worth it.

The following recipe is one of my (and Dave’s) favorite risotto preparations – a perfect way to use up some of those holiday ham leftovers.

Ham and Sugar Snap Pea Risotto (serves 4)

From Cooking Light

What you need:

  • 4 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 8 ounces sugar snap peas, trimmed and cut in half
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 medium leeks, cleaned, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup cooked ham, diced
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

How to do it:

Prep steps:

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring chicken stock to a simmer (do not boil). Keep warm.
  2. In a small saucepan, cook sugar snap peas in boiling water for approximately 2 minutes, or until crisp tender. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

And for the risotto itself:

  1. In a large skillet or saucepan (a pan with a large surface area works best), heat olive oil. Add leeks and cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add rice and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add wine and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until liquid is nearly completely absorbed.
  5. Add warmed chicken stock – one or two ladles full at a time – to risotto, being sure to stir constantly after each addition. Be sure stock is nearly completely absorbed into the rice before adding more stock. This entire process should take approximately 25 minutes. Adding the stock any more frequently than this will result in undercooked risotto – you don’t want that. Note: As the risotto cooks, you’ll notice it becomes creamier and begins to pull away from the pan when you stir it. Keep an eye out for these things and you’ll know you’re on the right track.
  6. Once all broth has been added and absorbed, add ham and stir until warmed through.
  7. To finish the risotto, stir in the sugar snap peas, Parmesan cheese and butter. Add pepper and salt to taste (watch the salt here – the Parmesan and ham are already quite salty). Top with extra Parmesan before serving.

What are some other creative ways you’ve used up leftover ham?

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7 thoughts on “Cheesy, Salty, Snappy Risotto

  1. That looks delicious! Risotto is one of my favorite meals.

    We had a lot of leftover pork shoulder at one point and I sauteed some onions and mushrooms and made ravioli filling.

  2. This may be the coolest website … EVER! Except that now I am hungry and at work. Nice job, Bobbi!

  3. Pingback: Cheesy, Salty, Snappy Risotto | Miss Chefy's Kitchen

  4. Pingback: Bacon and Leek Risotto «

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