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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ham & Cheese Risotto

All you have is ham? Go back two spaces. Get away scott free after breaking the gym lights. Go ahead three spaces. Dramatically break your ribs on the first day of your honeymoon. Go back one space. How many board games do you know of that contain these particular cards? How many games can only be played in the presence of one person?  Have you ever played a game that it doesn’t matter how well you do, you might never win?

These playing cards all tell stories; they are glimpses into my friends life. This past weekend was a walk down memory lane and it was one hilarious walk. Boyfriend and I journeyed to Buffalo, NY this weekend for a surprise birthday party. It was a long trip, six and a half hours in the car, and we spent barely more time in town than we did in the car. Thankfully, the party was all worth it.

We were there to celebrate the 30th birthday of a longtime friend, T-. Many of us had come from far away, travelling in from New Jersey, Ohio and Washington, DC. We had all gone to high school and college together and this is the year that we all turn 30. So, in a sense, it was a celebration for all of us! (Happy birthday class of 1999!)

The night was topped off with a present, the present to end all presents! A board game. This was not just any board game, it was the Game of T-! To celebrate T-'s birthday, several friends got together and created a board game of his life. Since we’ve all been friends for the past fifteen years, there are many, many stories we share. This game brought all the memories back and I have to give major props to the friends that brought this game to life. We were up into the late hours of the evening playing this game, laughing and reminiscing. Stories were retold for the benefit of those who came into our lives at later points and oh yes, did I mention the laughing?

To continue the celebration, I decided to make some ham and cheese risotto. An homage to D-, who was disappointed by what T-‘s fridge had to offer one late night. Perusing the fridge, D- professed “All you have is ham?” Then he decided to open a can of tuna.

Ham & Cheese Risotto
Adapted from Nigella Express

1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp vegetable oil
4 small leeks, sliced
1 ½ cups Arborio rice
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 ham steak, diced

In a medium stockpot, heat chicken stock to a simmer.

In a wide sauté pan with high sides, melt butter and vegetable oil together. Add leeks and sauté until softened. Add rice and stir for about a minute. Add warmed stock, a quarter cup at a time, stirring the whole time. Add another quarter cup of stock only after the previous one has been completely absorbed. Continue until all the liquid is used, or the rice has taken on your desired texture. This should take 18-20 minutes

Add cheddar cheese and ham, stir until cheese is all melted in. Dig in!
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