Cantaloupe and Prosciutto
There are some things in life that are just meant to be together: peanut butter and jelly, cookies and cream, and yes, melon and prosciutto. Who would've thought that fruit and meat would go so well together, but it does. Sweet juicy cantaloupe and salty cured prosciutto bring out the sweet and salty best in one another.
When Chris first told me about Melon and Prosciutto Risotto, my eyes widened in disbelief that I had not thought of this brilliant idea sooner. It made perfect sense. Take the classic combo of melon and prosciutto, and reinvent it via a creamy divine risotto.
Mama mia, the result was just beautiful. The risotto starts out like a risotto typically does -- by softening an onion in some butter and oil, toasting off the Arborio rice, and then adding a generous splash of white wine before simmering broth is added bit by bit until the risotto is creamy and each kernel has a nice toothsome chew to it.
Now here is where the magic comes in. To the risotto, we now add cubes of ripe cantaloupe, ribbons of paper-thin prosciutto, and a shower of parmigiano. The cantaloupe is the real surprise here. This is the first time I've ever tasted it cooked, and the temperature confusion makes you pause for a second. The freshness of the melon comes through though. It really lightens up this comfort meal and makes it fit for spring -- which is not to say that it is any less luxurious. It is still, after all, a lush risotto trimmed with melt-in-your-mouth prosciutto, and garnished with bits of crispy prosciutto. That pork on pork action is celebration enough. The beauty, however, is in the balance.
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 40 min
Total time: 50 min
Yield: 4 servings
- 1 1/2 cups cantaloupe, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1/4 pound prosciutto
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 32 ounces chicken stock
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
- 1/3 cup grated parmigiano
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a medium-sized pot, bring the chicken stock to a simmer. Keep at a simmer the entire time the risotto cooks.
- Heat the butter and olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 6-8 minutes. Add the rice and lightly toast, about 4 minutes.
- Stir the white wine into the mixture and allow it to evaporate and absorb into the rice.
- Add the warm chicken stock one ladle at a time, allowing it to absorb into the rice each time before adding the next ladle. Stir frequently to keep the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan. If it starts to look like you'll need more liquid to finish cooking the rice, add boiling water to your simmering pot of stock.
- Continue adding stock and stirring until the risotto is soft and creamy. The rice should still have a nice al dente chew to it though. It should take about 30 minutes to finish cooking.
- Meanwhile, roll up the prosciutto and slice it into thin ribbons. Toast a handful of it up in the oven (I use my toaster oven) until it is crispy, and reserve for garnishing.
- When the risotto is almost done, stir in the melon, uncooked prosciutto, and parmigiano. Allow everything to warm through. Season with salt and pepper if needed, top with the crispy prosciutto, and serve immediately.
Culinary Tradition: Italian