gammon & mint risotto

Last night, we had what Farmer's Choice call boiling bacon for supper. We started by cooking it according to instructions (40 mins per 1kg approx) in simmering water, scraping off any scum as it appeared. To finish, we blasted it under the grill, after having smeared it with Ma Cuisine seville orange marmalade and some honey (we get our honey from Baringo via Farida, our amazing househelp). 

So what to do with leftovers? We are huge fans of a good risotto. And home made chicken stock + leftover ham / gammon = a delicious risotto.

Someone once told me that the ultimate test for an Italian girl is to make the perfect risotto for her potential parents in law. Well, we've worked on this in our household and it's all about stirring - karoga - stir - karoga. You can't leave that pesky rice for more than 30 seconds, so before you start, make sure you've got your ingredients ready!

So, first get your ingredients ready:

  • Risotto rice - about two cups
  • Chicken Stock (preferably homemade!) x 500ml
  • Leftover ham chunks - around 200gms
  • Garlic (& half an onion chopped if you have one)
  • Leftover white wine (1 - 2 glasses)
  • Parsley or mint or both
  • Parmesan Cheese or Grana Padano - grated (around 1 cup)
  • Courgettes x 2 small, chopped into mini stick shapes

Start with some butter in the saucepan, and add your garlic (& onion). Soften (don't burn!). Once softened, add rice. Keep your risotto rice in the saucepan until you hear a high pitched singing sound - don't let it burn, but let it heat up until it sings; this will give your risotto a nice nutty taste. When it's really hot, add some wine - don't drown the rice, and then let the rice reduce. Add a little more each time until you've finished the wine. Then start to add the chicken stock. Keep stirring at all times! At this point I add the courgettes. Keep stirring, keep adding stock little by little. If you run out of stock don't panic, just use hot water. The rice will thicken and expand, and after about twenty - twenty five minutes, it should be almost ready. When it's about five minutes off, add the ham, most of the parmigiano / grana padano, and some of the parsley and mint. Keep stirring until it's ready. A good risotto should not be completely soft, but should still have some crunch to it. When you're sure it's ready, turn off the heat, chuck on the rest of the cheese and the rest of the herbs, and a lug of olive oil. Put the lid on and let it sit for a couple of minutes. 

Service with warm crusty french bread and a crisp glass of rose or white wine. Enjoy!