Risotto Bianco with Rocket & Parma Ham

Risotto Bianco with Rocket and Parma Ham

2 tblspn olive oil

2 tblspn butter

1 large onion, finely chopped

5 sticks of celery, finely chopped

4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

250ml dry white wine

350g arborio rice

1 litre chicken or vegetable stock (homemade)


2 handfuls grated Parmesan

50g butter


To serve:

Parma ham


  • In a large pan, heat the oil and butter over a medium heat until melted.  Add the onion, celery and garlic and stir to coat.  Reduce heat a little and cook gently for 15 – 20 mins until vegetables are soft and translucent but not caramelised.
  • Meanwhile, heat the stock in another pot until simmering.  Reduce heat to keep stock hot but not simmering.
  • Increase the heat to medium high and add the rice.  Stir to coat with oil and combine with the veg and cook for a minute.  Add the wine and let it bubbly up, stirring occasionally.
  • Now for the relaxing part…  Reduce the heat to medium and add a ladle of stock to the rice and stir with a wooden spoon firmly, massaging the rice until all of the liquid is absorbed.  You want the rice and liquid to just simmer at a gentle blib not vigorously.  Keep adding the stock and letting it absorb until the rice is almost soft and the last ladle has been absorbed.  Taste for seasoning at this point, adding salt and pepper to taste.  Don’t be too liberal with the salt as the Parmesan and Parma ham will also add salt.
  • Remove the pot from the heat.  Stir in the remaining butter then cover and let sit for a couple of minutes.
  • Stir well again then serve topped with parma ham and rocket.

Taglierini al Limone

When we returned from Italy I had a list of three dishes I wanted to learn to make.

The first was Aubergine Parmigiana.  Our hotel served a to-die-for version for lunch and I’ve been trying and failing for several weeks to recreate it.

The second was a dish I ate in the fantastic Leon di Oro in Riva: Tagliatelli with Black Truffles and Vezzana Cheese.  I kid you not, the restaurant version is perhaps the nicest thing I’ve ever eaten.  Ever.  Looking forward to making that once truffles come into season later this year.

And the third was Taglierini al Limone, a delicate, fresh pasta dish that I ate in a little trattoria in the lovely town of Arco.  It’s been very simple to recreate and, being so light and so simple to make, it has been my post-run lunch of choice this summer.

Sigh.  I miss my lazy summer lunches.

Taglierini al Limone

(serves 2)

200g taglierini (This is a slim, delicate tagliatelli type pasta that cooks very quickly.  If you can’t find it, angel hair pasta would work well or linguine.)

Juice of one lemon and 1/2 tspn of the rind grated finely

3 tblspn extra virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove

1/2 cup of finely grated parmesan cheese


2 tblspn finely chopped parsley

  • Whisk together the lemon juice and oil until emulsified.  Bash the garlic clove with a rolling pin and pop it in the liquid to infuse.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta.  Drain reserving a little of the cooking water.
  • Immediately after draining, add the pasta back to the pot.  Remove the garlic from the lemony oil (you just want a hit) and add the oil and cheese to the pan.  Use two forks to lift and toss the pasta, working the cheese and lemony oil evenly through it.
  • Serve scattered with a grinding of pepper and a scattering of parsley.