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Asparagus and Ham Risotto Cakes

Asparagus and Ham Risotto Cakes

3 tablespoons salted butter
1/2 cup diced sweet onion
1 cup Arborio rice
3 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
24 thin spears asparagus
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/3 cup pineapple preserves
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
5 (1/4-inch) slices fresh pineapple
16 very thin slices deli ham

• Preheat oven to 375°.
• In a medium ovenproof sauté pan with lid, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is soft and translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce heat, if necessary, to keep onion from browning.
• Add rice to cooked onion, stirring constantly. Cook on medium-low to low heat until rice grains are translucent, approximately 2 minutes. Remove from heat, and add chicken broth and salt.
• Cover pan, and bake until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender and moist, approximately 45 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Add cream and cheese, stirring to combine. Keep warm.
• While rice is cooking, prepare asparagus by snapping off and discarding tough ends.
• Preheat oven to 400°.
• In a large bowl, combine asparagus and olive oil, tossing to coat. Spread asparagus in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.
• Bake until asparagus is crisp tender when pierced with a knife, approximately 7 minutes. Cut into 1-inch pieces. Chop 1 or 2 pieces for garnish. Set aside.
• In a small saucepan, combine pineapple preserves and lemon juice. Warm over low heat until preserves melt, stirring constantly. Keep warm.
• Using a 1¼-inch flower cutter, cut 24 flower shapes from pineapple slices. Set aside.
• Cut ham into 16 (6-x-2-inch) strips.
• Add asparagus pieces to risotto, stirring gently to combine.
• Press approximately 1/3 cup risotto mixture into a 3¼-inch ring mold and onto individual serving plates to form risotto cakes. Ruffle 2 strips ham on top of each risotto cake in a decorative fashion. Brush ham with pineapple glaze.
• Top each with 3 pineapple flowers.
• Garnish with chopped asparagus, if desired.
• Serve immediately.

NOTE: To make ahead, press risotto cakes into molds and onto prepared baking sheet. Cover with foil, and store in the refrigerator for up to a day. To reheat, warm in a preheated 350° oven for approximately 10 minutes. Transfer to serving plates, and top as recipe indicates.

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