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caprese risotto
Caprese Risotto with Ham

peaches and berries
Fresh Peach and Berry Salad

Menu Plan for the week of August 16, 2013: Day 3 Recipes

Caprese Risotto
Fresh Peach and Berry Salad

Cooking time:  30 minutes for menu      Cooking schedule: see below for instructions

      I don't normally make risotto in the summer, but this is one exception. Because the Condimenti is not heated, this is a 'warm' risotto, rather than piping hot - more suited to summer.

Caprese Risotto with Ham                                Preparation and cooking time:  25 minutes
   The Condimenti in this risotto is added at the last minute and not heated through.  We want to keep both the mozzarella balls and the tomatoes intact, and the basil leaves crisp and green.

2/3 cup Arborio rice (or other rice specifically for risotto - Carnaroli or Vialone Nano)
1/2 cup (4oz, 120ml) dry, white wine
2 1/4 cups (18oz, 540ml) chicken stock
1 small onion
1 tbs butter
1/3 cup (1.5oz, 45gr) Parmesan cheese - freshly grated
10 cherry tomatoes
14 small balls fresh mozzarella
6oz (180gr) ham
handful fresh basil leaves

Heat chicken stock and keep hot over low heat.
Chop onion. In medium sauce pan heat butter; add onion and sauté until tender.  Add rice and sauté, stirring, for 2 - 3 minutes until rice has white center. Add white wine and stir.
Prepare Condimenti: Cut cherry tomatoes in half.  Cut ham into small pieces.  Tear large basil leaves. 
When wine is almost absorbed add a 1/3 cup of stock  and stir. (No need to stir constantly but do stir from time to time.) When stock is almost absorbed add another 1/3 cup and continue adding 1/3 cup at a time and stirring.
Before the last 1/3 cup is added taste a few kernels of rice. They should be just 'al dente' - slightly resistant to the tooth but fully cooked. If more stock is needed add it a tbs at a time and waiting until almost completely absorbed. At this point risotto will be thick but not stiff - there will still be visible liquid and it will not hold it's shape on a plate. 
Add the condimenti, Parmesan, pour into a bowl or risotto platter and serve immediately.
It will continue to absorb liquid and the leftovers (if any) will be quite stiff. The risottos that we have eaten in northern Italy have all been served in soup plates (flattish bowls) and eaten with a spoon - not a fork.

Fresh Peach and Berry Salad                              Preparation and cooking time: 10 minutes
   Summer fruits are at their peak.  I used white peaches and fresh strawberries. ( My strawberries are the ever-bearing variety.)  Use whatever peaches and/or nectarines and berries are in season.  A bit of sugar, vanilla and Greek Yogurt finishes off this salad.  You could also add a bit of fresh mint or a tot of rum.....

1 cup fresh berries
1 - 2 peaches or nectarines
1 tbs sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla  do not use if you are adding rum
4oz (120gr) Greek yogurt

Rinse peaches and berries.  Stem and cut berries if needed.  Cut peaches in half around pit and twist, gently.  If the peaches are 'freestone' the halves will come apart easily.  Slice.  If they are 'clingstone' the halves will not budge and you'll have to cut the peach off the stone in chunks.  Put fruit into a medium bowl and sprinkle with sugar.  Stir gently. Mix yogurt and vanilla.  Add to fruit and stir gently.  Serve.

Cooking Schedule: 30 minutes for menu
Assemble all ingredients and utensils
Utensils: measuring cups, spoons, knives,
scissors, medium bowl, 2 saucepans

Heat stock
Chop onion, sauté
Add rice, sauté
Add wine, stir, cook
Add 1/3 cup stock, stir, cook
Grate Parmesan
Stir rice
Cut cherry tomatoes
Add 1/3 cup stock, stir

Cut ham
Stir rice
Tend to the berries
Add 1/3 cup stock, stir
Tend to the peaches
Stir rice
Make fruit salad
Add 1/3 cup stock, stir
Tend to the basil
Add 1/3 cup stock, stir
Finish risotto
Add Parmesan, Condimenti
Serve, Don't forget the Fruit Salad

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