Parmesan Cheese Risotto with California Prunes and Crisp Parma Ham

Makes: 4Prep Time: 10 minutesCook Time: 30 minutes


  • 150g California Prunes
  • 50ml red wine vinegar
  • 700ml of good quality vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp of oil for cooking
  • 1 medium white onion finely diced
  • 300g of risotto rice
  • 150ml dry white wine
  • 75g Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 50g butter
  • 60g toasted pine nuts
  • 4 slices of Parma ham
  • 25ml extra virgin olive oil


  1. Cut the California Prunes into pieces, place in a bowl with the red wine vinegar and leave to soak for 20-30 minutes.
  2. Place the Parma ham onto a non-stick baking tray and cook in the oven for 5-10 minutes until crisp at 160°C. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
  3. Place the stock onto a medium heat and bring up to the boil.
  4. Heat a heavy bottomed pan with a splash of olive oil.
  5. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Pour the rice into the pan with the onions and cook for 5 minutes to crack the rice; this will help release the starch and make for a creamier risotto.
  7. Pour a ladle-full of stock into the pan and cook until the liquid is absorbed into the rice.Continue adding the stock to the rice a ladle at a time for approximately 15 minutes, or until the rice is al dente.
  8. When the risotto is loose enough to spread across a plate (not sit in a ball), add the butter and parmesan cheese.
  9. Season to taste with a little salt and pepper.
  10. To serve, spoon the risotto into the centre of the plate, then tap the plate down against the table to help it naturally spread across the plate for a nice surface area.
  11. Spoon over the pickled California Prunes, scatter over the toasted pine nuts and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

Finally finish with the crispy Parma ham and serve


Peter Sidwell

Peter Sidwell

California Prune Board Ambassador Peter Sidwell, is a chef, baker, TV presenter, author, and innovator of all things food related. Peter has been a chef all his working life and over the years has developed a simple, fresh and innovative way of cooking which focuses on the importance of fine ingredients and technical know-how to ensure the best results. Peter has travelled the world cooking, talking and demonstrating his approach and explaining how and why it works so well for all manner of food offerings. Peter works both with chefs, consumers, food producers and retailers to innovate, create process or refine procurement. Working from his new innovation centre in England's beautiful Lake District, Peter and his team create exciting, attractive and mouth-watering new recipes with digital content, showcasing the delicious flavour and versatility of California Prunes.