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Green peas and ham

April 6, 2011

Today I’m sharing with you a recipe I’ve been meaning to try since New Years.  We went to Lake Lure with some friends and had a wonderful time together in a gorgeous log cabin.  Here’s a picture of our crazy crew:

Our makeshift tripod cut off the heads of Kyle and the hubs (sorry guys).  Anyway, our cabin had old magazines everywhere as most vacation houses do.  So as the gals sat around and chatted, we’d flip through them quickly glancing over the pages.  I picked up an old Cooking Light magazine and found the recipe I’m about to share.  I read it a few times and I just knew I had to make it.  I was going to copy the recipe down in order to preserve the magazine for future log-cabin-magazine-reader-visitors, but I couldn’t find a pen and paper.  After wrestling with my conscious, I tore the page out, justifying that it was from 2008 and it was okay to remove this one recipe simply because it was old.  My badgered conscious lost again when I “pinched” a Fresh Home magazine that I couldn’t stop flipping through.  My apologies to the cabin owners but your donation resulted in my purchasing a subscription to Fresh Home.

Anyway, the recipe got filed in my three ring binder filled with delicious dishes, until I finally re-found it and made a grocery list.  It has leeks and risotto in it – two things I have never bought or eaten.  So this checks off number 3 on my Goals for 2011 checklist!  Fortunately for me, the day before I made this meal, Ina Garten had a quick segment on her show about how to clean leeks.  I found that very beneficial, so if you are a leeks novice as well here’s a video to show you how to clean them:

So now that you can prepare your veggies properly, lets get on with the actual recipe!

Ham and Sugar Snap Pea Risotto

i n g r e d i e n t s :

4 cups fat-free, less sodium chicken broth
12 oz. bag of frozen sugar snap peas
2 tsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced leeks (about 2 medium leeks)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup uncooked Arborio rice or other medium-grain rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 oz. diced cooked ham (about 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 tsp black pepper

d i r e c t i o n s :

1. Bring broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan (do not boil). Keep warm.

2.  Cook peas in microwave or on the stove top according to package.  Drain and reserve.

3.  Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add leek to pan and cook for 5 mins. or until tender, stirring frequently. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds.  Stir in rice and cook 1 min. Add wine, cook 2 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly.  Add broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion is absorbed before adding the next.  This process takes about 20 minutes.

4. Add ham to pan and cook 3 mins or until thoroughly heated. Stir in peas, cheese and pepper.

* * *

PRINT 4 X 6 RECIPE CARD HERE

The most surprising thing about this dish was that my picky husband actually LOVED it.  Not just liked, LOVED as in cleaned-his-plate-even-all-the-green-pieces!  In an attempt to be super healthy, I added 12 oz of sugar snap peas instead of 8 oz which the recipe called for, and it may have been overkill.  If you’re not a sugar snap pea fan, the recipe says you can substitute asparagus instead.

Now as a warning, this is going to require some arm power.  Stirring constantly for 20 minutes made my bicep hurt, but it’s sooo good that it was worth it.  So now I’m all about some risotto, and if you have a recipe you’ve made and want to share I’d love to hear it!

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