April 27, 2009

Zucchini and Ham Risotto Gratin

The shiny, sunny days of spring have been quite the capricious flirt this year.

A day of sun here, four days of rain there. A half a day of sun here, two days of rain there. With the exception of one little day, the last week has been downright dreary and I heard that it has been nicer in Copenhagen than in the south of France! To whom do I send my customer complaint card?

Ok, ok, enough moaning about the weather. On to the food!

These dark and drizzly days call for a bit of spring comfort food.
This risotto is topped with thick slices of golden, melted Brie that ooze down into the rice as they heat up, making a wonderfully rich and creamy dish. Just the thing to satisfy us as we huddle next to the heater and wait for some sun. We hope we won't be waiting for much longer.

photos of risotto never seem to do it justice

Zucchini, Ham and Brie Risotto Gratin
serves 4
Inspired by this recipe.
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
  • 2-3 slices thick ham, chopped into small squares
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 3½ cups hot vegetable or chicken stock
  • 6 ounces Brie*
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the zucchini and sautée for 10-12 minutes until it just starts to turn golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  3. Add the remaining oil to the pan, lower the heat and add the ham, onion and garlic.
  4. Cook on low heat for about 6-8 minutes or until softened and lightly golden.
  5. Add the rice and stir the grains for about 2 minutes.
  6. Pour in the wine and stir until it is absorbed into the rice, then pour in about one third of the hot stock and increase the heat to medium.
  7. Cook, stirring frequently, until the stock is absorbed. Repeat with the remaining stock, in two batches. This should take about 20 minutes, and the rice should be tender.
  8. Preheat the broiler.
  9. Remove the rice from the heat, gently fold in the zucchini and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  10. Put the mixture into a big, earthenware gratin dish.
  11. Slice the Brie and lay it on top of the rice.
  12. Put the dish under the broiler for 3-4 minutes, until the Brie is golden and bubbling.
  13. Serve at once.

*Don't go all out and spend a lot of money on unpasteurized Brie de Melun or Brie de Meaux for this dish. The cheese's flavor really mellows during cooking.

Another delicious springtime dish is this Baked Asparagus Risotto recipe that I perfected last year.

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Veronica said...

I know what you mean about risotto photos -- just look at some of the photos on my blog :) I've given up taking them now!

Anyway, whatever risotto looks like in photos, it's always delicious and a lovely way of using leftovers -- can be better than the original dish!

spacedlaw said...

I am with you on the photos, but it STILL looks wonderful.

martha said...

I agree with everybody (Is she sick?) and plan to make this recipe soon,

Valerie, En Bonne Compagnie said...

Ham, cheese, a great vegetable and risotto...... the ultimate combination unctuous comfort food and it's making me hungry now!

Loulou said...

I haven't given up yet...one of these days I just might get a good one!

Risotto always tastes wonderful, even if it doesn't always look wonderful. :)

I think you'll enjoy it. Let me know!

We've needed some comfort food lately! See you tomorrow.