Bloomingdale Farmers Market
Dining Out in DC on Thanksgiving, 2008

Risotto with Prosciutto and White Truffle Oil

You know when you meet someone and they seem perfectly put together and totally balanced? And they never seem to sweat? That’s how I used to look at risotto – with envy, and a little bit of intimidation.

I got over my jealousy (resentment?) last winter when I realized that risotto really just takes time. And this fall, as the weather cools down and football games drag out over entire Sundays, I’ve got plenty.

There are many risotto recipes using a number of add-ins like asparagus, various cheeses and mushrooms, but none of them matter if you don’t start with a good base – which you get from basic ingredients and a lot of patient stirring. I like my risotto with a cheesy center and an earthy, salty finish. 


To find the ingredients I include in this recipe, I encourage you to visit the Italian Store (3123 Lee Highway). It’s a one-stop shop for the white truffle oil, prosciutto and parmesan cheese you’ll need for this recipe. Whole Foods on P Street, NW should have these as well. 


Ingredients

Olive oil

2 to 3 ounces sliced prosciutto

3 tablespoons butter

2 shallots, minced

2 cups Arborio rice

6 cups chicken stock (you may want to have 1 or 2 extra cups on hand, just in case)

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

White truffle oil


Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet. Add small slices of prosciutto and cook until it begins to turn dark in color and slightly crispy. Remove from the skillet with a slotted spoon, and set aside on a paper towel-lined plate, to maintain the crispness of the prosciutto.

Heat 3 tablespoons of butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add minced shallots and cook until soft.

In a separate pot, simmer 6 cups of chicken stock over medium heat.


In the pot with the butter and shallots, stir in 2 cups of Arborio rice. Stir until the rice is coated completely in the butter. Allow the rice to simmer until it starts to turn golden in color, but be careful not to let the rice stick to the pot.

Add the chicken stock, 1 cup at a time, and simmer and stir continuously until absorbed. The rice should become creamy, but not stiff.

Once the last of the stock has been added and the risotto is at a consistency you like, stir in 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese, and any salt and pepper to taste. To serve, sprinkle with the white truffle oil and prosciutto.


You’re bound to have leftovers when making risotto. Not to worry – here are a few ways to make it taste even better the next day:


Risotto balls – Heat some peanut oil to 350 degrees. Take a few tablespoons of cold, leftover risotto in your hands and roll it into a ball. Roll the ball in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs, repeating with all of the risotto. Place the risotto balls into the oil and fry, turning onto each side, until they’re golden brown. Remove the balls and drain them on paper towels. Serve these with a side of marinara. 


Risotto pancakes – Heat some butter in a pan. In a bowl, mix the leftover risotto with an egg, and take a few spoonfuls in your hand and shape into a patty. Fry the patties in the butter on both sides. Sprinkle with grated parmesan and serve.

Comments

RJF

Sounds great! About how long does it take for the Risotto to cook in the chicken stock?

Jason

Risotto should cook in the stock for about 25 minutes in my experience.

Nick

While vigilance is required, it's actually not necessary to stir constantly - just enough to keep it from sticking to the bottom.

Eric

I really love to make the Risotto Balls with leftovers too. I usually add a little chunk of fontina or mozzarella to the center to make a nice chewy surprise. I have also had this with finely chopped salami incorporated into the risotto mixture.

Mike Bober

Elizabeth and I love making risotto when the weather gets colder. The broth/stock/liquid usually is absorbed within 30 minutes, but you need to be careful not to add too much at once.

I've never been a fan of the white truffle oil - it's expensive and most of the oils that are out there don't really use truffles at all.

Erica

Mike--If you buy Urbani white truffle oil, you will not be disappointed. The truffle taste is transcendent. You're right, some other oils are pale in comparison.

ChiliHead

I have black and white truffle oil that I have been looking for good recipes for. Roughly how much white truffle oil do you use in this recipe?

jenny

i made this last night - was surprised how quickly the rice cooked (in about 45 minutes, as opposed to the hour-plus i seem to remember from previous forays into risotto). it was a bit too cheesy for me, and i finished it with black truffle oil instead of white truffle oil (hey, it's what i had in the pantry), but it was yummy. i will probably make it again, but with bacon instead of proscuitto (frying proscuitto struck me as sacrilegious, but i did it anyway), or with un-fried proscuitto, sliced into thin strips.

Taresa Schmidt

I think un-fried proscuitto would be good, but I was looking for a little crunch to add to this dish. personal preference!
Mike's comment about truffle oil and many brands' lack of actual truffle in the oil is a good one, but you can find the good stuff around here. And when you do, I think it's hard to beat that intense flavor and aroma.
Chilihead- I used a pretty small amount in this recipe- a "cap full" is all it needed. (and the size of my cap was about a nickel's diamter and as thick as the pad on my thumb.

ILuvFood

Some more variations (pick and choose):

- Saute garlic with the onions

- Add a little bit of white wine before adding the chicken stock.

- Instead of prosciutto, use lamb or peas (not the lamb bone/stock though as it can be overpowering)

Risotto is a surprisingly easy and flexible dish. Grown-up Cheesy Rice - great comfort food on a cold day.

Brandon Green

I love risotto! Here's a cool cooking lesson on making it with Todd Gray of Equinox:

http://quimera.tv/2007/04/11/risotto/

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