Risotto Mille e Una Notte
The recipe title translates as “thousand and one nights risotto.” Perhaps Chef Saracchi is hinting that this risotto, made with Prosciutto, mushrooms, green peas, and spinach, is so good that we can eat it more than a thousand times without getting tired of it. In a traditional Italian meal, risotto is served as a first course, but this recipe is a generous, filling entrée.
- Spinach - 1 bunch, stemmed
- Chicken Stock or Broth - 12 cups
- Unsalted Butter - 1-1/4 cups (2-1/2 sticks)
- Onions - 1/2 cup, chopped
- Arborio Rice - 2-1/4 cups (1 pound)
- Dry white wine - 1 cup
- Carrots - 2/3 cup, peeled and diced small
- Prosciutto - 2/3 cup, chopped, plus 12 slices
- Fresh Porcini Mushrooms - 1/2 cup, diced
- Green Peas - 1/3 cup
- Parmesan Cheese - 1 cup (4 ounces) grated
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
To make the spinach puree: Wash the spinach leaves. Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil and blanch the spinach for 2 to 3 minutes. With a slotted spoon or wire skimmer, transfer the leaves to a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking. Drain well and pat dry. Puree the spinach leaves in a blender or food processor. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, bring the chicken stock or broth to a low simmer. In a large, heavy saucepan, melt 3/4 cup of the butter over medium heat and saute the onion for 3 to 4 minutes, until soft and pale gold. Add the rice and stir for 1 minute. Add the wine and cook until the liquid has evaporated, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add the diced carrots, diced Prosciutto, and mushrooms. Add 1/2 cup of the hot chicken stock or broth and cook, stirring the rice constantly with a wooden spoon, until the broth has evaporated. Repeat, adding 1/2 cup of the hot stock or broth at a time. When the rice has been cooking for about 15 minutes, add the peas and the spinach puree. Continue to cook, stirring and adding the stock or broth, until the rice is tender but still slightly chewy. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup of butter and all the grated Parmesan cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
To serve: Divide the risotto among warmed shallow soup bowls. Roll two Prosciutto slices together into a rosette and place in the center of a bowl of risotto; repeat with all the bowls. Serve the risotto warm.