Ham and Pea Risotto

February 1, 2017
Family Verdict:


1 tbsp vegetable oil and knob of butter

1 onion , chopped 

375g risotto rice  

1 small glass white wine or vermouth (about 100ml)

1l hot stock - kept at a low simmer - I used Marigold Veg stock this time

100g shredded ham

1 tbsp thyme leaf 

200g frozen peas  

1 tbsp crème fraîche (optional)

2 tbsp grated Parmesan, plus extra to serve

  • Heat oil and butter on a medium flame in a large pan and cook the onion until soft (about 5 mins). 
  • Turn up the heat, Stir in the rice and cook for 1 min more, until it starts to look transparent. 
  • Pour in the wine and keep stirring until all the liquid is absorbed. If using dried thyme add it now
  • Add the stock a ladle full at a time and stir vigorously into the rice - you are trying to break the outer husk in part here.
  • When the majority of that ladle of stock is absorbed by the rice, add another. Keep adding and stirring until the rice is just tender and most or all of the stock has been used - this will take about 20 mins
  • Stir through the chicken, thyme (if using fresh) and peas, then cook for 2 mins or until the peas are warmed through. 
  • Add the crème fraîche and Parmesan and stir through to mix. Check for seasoning, then remove from the heat. Cover with a lid and leave to stand for 2 mins before serving with extra Parmesan, if you like.


Risotto is a versatile dish for absorbing leftovers and turning them into a treat, and I have given an earlier example with Chicken and Pea Risotto. A lot of people shy away from it because it is labour intensive, but try it a few times and you will find that it is not really that bad. It is relatively quick (about half an hour) and as long as you stir the rice when you add fresh stock vigorously enough to help break the rice grains then you will be ok and really don't need to stir continually - but you do need to keep an eye open for when to add more stock. So if you aren't going to be in the kitchen doing other things for that 30 minutes then pass this by for another day.

The reason I made this today is because the Youngest asked for it repeatedly (she loves it) . It is a great way of making a little meat go a long way if you are trying to cut back. The glass of wine in this dish does add a layer of flavour and is important - and it usually the availability of a glass of white wine as a leftover that dictates when I make this rather than any specific solid food. Strange but there you have it. On the other hand you might want to make this so that you have to open a bottle of white - which it would then be silly to leave standing around to go off. Your choice. On this ocassion I did not want to open a bottle, and had none open so instead I substituted vermouth - I had a bottle open and as anyone who has a bottle knows, it tends to hang around for a long while - so this is a great way to use it!

Naturally this Risotto bianco (what you get before you add the protein and vegetable ingredients in the recipe below) can be used to carry pretty much any combination of things you have as leftovers from a roast dinner - so ham and peas are good for example or ham and leeks - any combination of meat and veg that worked for sunday lunch in fact. Use them instead of what is listed here and make your own way. It uses leftovers in a more imaginative way and tastes great.

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