I spend a lot of time researching, thinking, talking, tasting and drinking cider. As editor-in-chief of this magazine and two other publications we produce, I can’t say I am teeming with spare time but when I get a moment, I like to cook. My husband is the more adept knife wielder in the kitchen and risotto is certainly one of his honed specialties — so when I took over the helm for the evening, he was cautiously (and carefully) glancing over my shoulder.
Fortunately, my fail-proof tactic of replacing white wine with cider in the pan continues to result in depth of flavor, richness in texture and a fragrant perfume when cooking off. This recipe is no different, as 2 Towns Ciderhouse‘s traditionally inspired Cidre Bouche brought all of that to the table. Oregon-grown bittersweet heirloom apples are sweated, crushed and left to soak on the skins, then fermented for an entire year through the French keeving process and aged in French oak casks. Ripe and robust, this cider was a mint ingredient for the savory-sweet risotto and optimal pairing for enjoying a steaming bowl of cider-soaked rice.
Cider, Prosciutto and Pea Risotto
Adapted from Giada De Laurentis’ Champagne risotto recipe
8 thin slices prosciutto
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 sweet onion, diced
1 large shallot, diced
8 cups (2 32-ounce containers) chicken stock
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1 1/2 cups 2 Towns Cidre Bouche
1 cup green peas
3/4 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup Parmesan, freshly grated
3/4-1 teaspoon salt, to taste
3/4-1 teaspoon pepper, to taste
Pre-heat oven to 450° F. Cover a cookie sheet with foil and place prosciutto slices on in a single layer. Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes, then remove and set aside to cool and crisp further.
In a large saucepan, warm the chicken stock over medium-low heat. Place the rice into a strainer over a medium bowl. Slowly pour ladles of stock over the rice, mixing it up in the liquid, until about 1-1 1/2 cups have stock have ran through the rice. Allow to strain complete then pour strained liquid back into the stock saucepan.
While the rice is straining, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and shallot until tender and slightly caramelized, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and toss to coat, toasting the rice for about 5 minutes or until it is a darker cream color. Add the cider to skillet and stir, simmering until nearly all of the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes.
With a ladle or measuring cup, pour roughly 1/2 cup of stock into the pan and shake the pan to mix. Once the rice consistency looks less like a soup and more like a porridge, add another 1/2 cup and shake the pan to mixing. Continue to do this until the rice is tender but still firm and the mixture stays creamy, about 35-40 minutes. Be sure to taste along the way.
Remove from heat and stir in peas, mushrooms, Parmesan and salt and pepper to taste. Serve in bowls and top with crisped prosciutto and more cheese, if desired.