If paella is your traditional holiday rice dish, you might want to try something new but not so unfamiliar. This risotto dish is cooked with paprika to give the creamy rice a reddish tinge that, with paella, is achieved with the addition of saffron threads. Instead of the usual seafood and chicken that go with paella, this risotto has asparagus, mushrooms and bell peppers. And, for the crowning glory, a slice of prosciutto di Parma and a generous sprinkling of grated Parmesan.
Prosciutto di Parma, or Parma ham, is available in better groceries and meat deli stores. It is Italian dry cured ham produced in the city of Parma. It is served thinly-sliced and uncooked. The flavor is wonderful and the texture is rich. Although a bit pricey, considering that only a single slice goes into each serving, you can make six servings of risotto with about a hundred grams of prosciutto di Parma.
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 6 to 8 button mushrooms quartered
- 6 to 8 asparagus spears trimmed and cut into two-inch lengths
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/3 cup onion chopped
- 1/2 cup bell peppers diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 and 1/2 cups arborio rice (if unavailable, Japanese rice is a good substitute)
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- bone broth (keep it simmering in another pot)
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan (plus more to garnish)
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley (plus more to garnish)
- 6 slices prosciutto di Parma
Heat the butter in a pan. Saute the mushrooms and asparagus with a little salt and pepper just until cooked. Scoop out and transfer to a plate.
Add the olive oil to the remaining butter in the pan. Saute the onion, garlic and bell peppers with salt and pepper for about a minute.
Add the rice and paprika, stir well to coat every grain with oil.
Pour in the wine. Stir. Allow to boil, uncovered, until most of the wine has been absorbed by the rice.
Ladle in a cup of simmering meat broth, stirring the rice until the liquid has been absorbed. Add another cup of broth, again, stirring until the rice has absorbed most of it. Season with salt and pepper as you cook, tasting occasionally.
Repeat until the rice is done. The level of doneness is such that when biting a grain, there should be the slightest resistance at the center. In pasta lingo, it's al dente.
Stir in the Parmesan and parsley.
To assemble, ladle the risotto into shallow bowls. Scatter the sautéed mushrooms and asparagus around the mound of rice. Top with a slice of prosciutto di Parma. Garnish with more grated Parmesan and parsley.