Ham and Tomato Risotto.

This is definitely not the traditional method as expounded by such experts as Maria Hazan, but it does the trick and is very simple. By omitting the meats and using a vegetable stock, this also comprises a very tasty vegetarian meal.

Ingredients.

1 onion, peeled and chopped finely.

4 cloves garlic, crushed.

1 400g can diced tomatoes.

Dash cayenne pepper.

3 tablespoons tomato paste.

Salt to taste.

¼ cup olive oil.

½ cup Arborio rice.

1 cup stock [meat or vegetable].

1 cup diced ham.

¼ cup diced salami.

1 cup chopped basil and flat leafed parsley.

3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese.

Method.

Chop the onion and the garlic, place in a bowl and set aside. Mix the tomato, tomato paste, cayenne and salt and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over a hot flame and add the onion mix. Cook until the onion is transparent then add the tomato mix and cook for 5 minutes over a low to medium heat. Increase the heat and stir in the rice, stirring until the mixture is boiling.

Meanwhile, bring the stock to the boil in a separate pan or zap in the microwave. Add to the rice mixture, stir through and bring to the boil. Continue to simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid sticking. Stir in the ham and salami and cook for another 10 minutes or until the liquid is fully absorbed. Add the herbs and the cheese, simmer for another minute or two then serve with a green salad.

Variations: Shrimp Risotto, Seafood Risotto, Chicken Risotto [using cooked chicken meat]. Orzotto is risotto made with peal barley instead of rice. Prepare as above but cook the barley for a little longer than the rice; thirty minutes should be sufficient. Ham, seafood, and/or chopped salami or chorizo are good additives.

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