Risotto con Fagioli; Ham and White Bean Risotto

I love risotto.  

Since the first time I had it in Venice I have been smitten.

That year, for Christmas, mon mari gave me a cookbook: ‘Risotto’.

A simple title for a simple book… Just recipes for classic Italian risotto.

Nothing fancy, nothing creative or innovative or cutting edge.

This is the first one I made. It’s still my favorite and I make it at least once every winter.

Prosciutto is the traditional ham for this risotto.  You don’t need very much to add a lot of flavor. 

But sometimes I use regular ham… Especially when I have some leftover from baking a ham.

Risotto con Fagioli or Ham and White Bean Risotto    

Total time: 25 minutes;


  • 2/3 cup Arborio rice (or other rice specifically for risotto – Carnaroli or Vialone Nano)

  • 1/2 cup dry, white wine
  • 2 1/4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 onion, chopped 

  • 1 tbs butter
  • 3/4 cup (3oz, 90gr) Parmesan cheese – freshly grated 

  • Condimenti
  • 8oz (250gr) baked ham or 3oz (90gr) Prosciutto, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled, and chopped
  • 15oz (450gr) white beans, (cannellini)
  • 1 tbs olive oil

Ham and White Bean Risotto


  • Heat chicken stock and keep hot over low heat.
  • In medium sauce pan heat butter; add 1/2 of the onion and sauté until transparent then add rice and sauté, stirring, for 2 – 3 minutes until rice has white center.  Add white wine and stir. 
  • Start condimenti. 
  • When wine is almost absorbed add a 1/3 cup of stock, 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 you add the last 1/3 cup 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 1 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 Parmesan and the condimenti, stir well, 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.
  • Condimenti
  • While risotto is cooking, heat oil in small skillet. 
  • Add the rest of the onion and sauté until tender.
  • Add the ham and tomato. 
  • Turn heat to low and allow to simmer until tomatoes are well-cooked, then add white beans and heat through.  
  • Keep warm until needed for risotto.

Some other favorite risottos…..

Spring Risotto with Asparagus and Green Garlic

Spring Risotto
I must be thinking spring….. And leftover lamb

Risotto with Lamb, Fava Beans and Green Garlic

Risotto with Lamb and Fava Beans

Salami Risotto

Salami Risotto


Scallop and Saffron Risotto

Scallop Risotto

And for a nicely decadent side dish….

Ricotta Risotto

Ricotta Risotto

Comments 5

  1. I’m doing a “Chinese” risotto tonight — leftover chicken, shitakes, and spinach with garlic/ginger/chiles — Himself has been hunting for shed elk antlers all day, and seems like a nice hot bowl of risotto would be just the ticket.

  2. Mmmmm, I’m always ready for a risotto!!! I must have some Asian genes (because of the rice, not the way to cook it) I love the risottos texture… delicious 😀
    Your Mari is so lucky to have you as the official Chef at the house ;D
    Muchos besos!

  3. I love risotto too. My personal favourite is mushroom (rehydrated dried portobellos) risotto. But it looks like this ham and white bean risotto would run a close second. It sounds fabulous.

  4. Susan, I love risottos LOL
    Charlotte, Chinese risotto…. hmmmm. That sounds really good. Do you use cheese in it?
    Nuria, I’m always ready for it too – rich and cream. Abrazos!
    Elizabeth, I think I’ll do mushroom next…. Good call.

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