Friday, May 11, 2012

Saffron Risotto with Fava Beans and Prosciutto

Fava beans, meet prosciutto. Prosicutto, fava beans. Let's throw some rice at them and toast the happy couple.

Olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 rounded cup Arborio rice
1 ladleful white wine
28 oz chicken and/or veggie broth
1 generous pinch saffron
2 lbs fava beans, shelled
3 oz prosciutto, sliced crosswise into strips
2-3 big handfuls baby arugula or spinach, chopped
1 handful flat leaf parsley, chopped (about 1 tbsp, or a bit more to taste)
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 tbsp pine nuts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the shelled favas and blanch for 2-3 minutes till the skins turn white (2 minutes for medium-sized beans and 3 minutes for large ones). Drain, run under cold water to cool, and peel.

Heat the broth with the pinch of saffron in a pot over medium heat until it begins to boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for a minute, then turn off the heat. Keep covered so it stays warm.

Meanwhile, heat a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add a glug of olive oil, wait a few moments for it to heat, then add the onion and saute, stirring, until it softens. Turn the heat down just a little. Add the garlic and saute for another 2-3 minutes, then stir in the rice and continue sauteing for 2 minutes more. Add a little more olive oil if needed.

Stir in a ladleful of dry white wine, and cook the rice, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed. Add a pinch or two of salt. Begin adding broth by the ladleful, allowing the rice to simmer (turn the heat down a touch more if it's more than a gentle simmer) and stirring every 30 seconds or so until the liquid is absorbed before adding the next ladleful.

Lightly toast the pine nuts in a pan and set aside.

When there is about a cup of broth left in the pot, head a glug of olive oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat. Add the prosciutto, scattering it in the pan so it doesn't stick together, and the fava beans. Saute, stirring, for a minute, then add the greens and a pinch of salt and continue to saute until the greens wilt. Turn off the heat, and douse liberally with freshly ground black pepper.

When there is just one ladleful of broth left to add, gently stir the fava beans and greens into the risotto. Add the last ladleful of broth, stir, then add the parsley and Parmesan and turn off the heat. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Serve into soup plates, sprinkle with a few pine nuts, garnish with parsley, and serve. Best eaten when it's still very warm but not piping hot.

Serves 2-3.

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