I looooooove risotto. Actually, I love pretty much any rice dish, but risotto is probably my second-favorite version (with the first being paella). People think risotto is a difficult and time-consuming dish, but the truth is that once you master the basic techniques, you could probably make it in your sleep. The most important things to remember when cooking risotto are: 1) make sure that ALL of the rice gets coated with butter and toasted (but not browned) before adding any liquid, and 2) do add the stock gradually (about 1/2 cup at a time) and wait until each round of liquid is absorbed before adding the next. The first tip will give the rice a really great bite, and the second will allow the creamy texture to develop by slowly drawing out the starch.
I’ve tried many varieties of risotto, but when I saw that this one (which, in case you’re interested, I saw on an episode of “Everyday Italian”) used champagne instead of dry white wine, I was intrigued. After all, as anyone who knows me will tell you, I’m a big fan of the bubbly–and New Year’s Eve shouldn’t be the only time of year that the corks get popped!
Not only is this dish delicious and filling, but it looks impressive on the plate. I’d recommend pairing it with a small green salad (if you feel so inclined, that is–the risotto is VERY filling on its own) and the leftover champagne. Enjoy!
Serves 2 people (I doubled the recipe and it turned out great). Cooking time: about an hour.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Place the slices of prosciutto on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake until the prosciutto slices are almost completely crisp, about 6 to 8 minutes. The slices will crisp up even more as they cool. Reserve for garnish.
In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Blanch the asparagus in the chicken stock for 2 minutes. Remove the asparagus with a slotted spoon. Set the asparagus aside and keep
the chicken stock at a low simmer.
In another medium saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the shallot and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the Arborio rice and stir to coat in the butter. Continue toasting the rice, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes more. Add the Champagne and simmer until the liquid has almost evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the
simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes total. Remove from the heat. Gently stir in the asparagus, remaining butter, Parmesan, salt, and pepper. Spoon the risotto into serving dishes and garnish by breaking the crisp prosciutto into smaller pieces over the top of the risotto. Serve immediately.