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Risotto with Spring Peas, Ham, and Fontina Cheese

[Photographs: Deborah Mele]

This is a simple spring risotto dish created to showcase the first spring peas I was lucky to find this year. If fresh peas are not available, frozen baby peas will work just as well. For the ham, I bought a thick slice that I simply diced into small squares a little larger than the peas. I decided to add Fontina cheese to add creaminess, in place of Parmesan which is the typical cheese used in risotto. If Fontina cheese is not available, another semi-soft, mild flavored cheese would work well in its place. When serving this risotto dish I often sprinkle on a little additional grated lemon zest and some cracked black pepper. For cheese lovers, you may like to offer grated Parmesan cheese at the table.

Note: Risotto should be served on warm plates so that it doesn't thicken too quickly. Store your plates in a 225°F oven while you prepare your risotto, then remove them carefully using kitchen towels or oven mitts.

About the Author: Deborah Mele is the owner of Italian Food Forever, an Italian recipe blog, as well as Recipe Rebuild, a healthy recipe blog she shares with her daughter Christy, an RD. Deborah lives 6 months a year in Umbria, Italy where she oversees her guest house Il Casale di Mele.

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