Parma Ham and Pesto Parcels

Serve a stylish starter with Aldo Zilli's Parma ham and pesto parcels, filled with a flavourful white wine risotto
By Aldo Zilli
Parma Ham and Pesto Parcels
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: medium



  • 8 slices Parma ham
  • 4 tsp parmesan, grated

For the risotto:

  • 30 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 50 g butter
  • 4 banana shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 clove garlic, crushed
  • 325 g arborio risotto rice
  • 250 ml white wine
  • 1.5 litres vegetable or fish stock
  • 4 tbsp parmesan, grated
  • salt

For the pesto:

  • 25 g leaves basil
  • 2 tbsp pine kernels
  • 2 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 250 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 25 g parmesan, grated
  • 75 g pecorino cheese, grated
  • black pepper

Tips and Suggestions

Store extra pesto in the refrigerator, it'll keep for around a week or so.


1. First make the risotto. Heat the olive oil and 25g of butter in a large, deep frying pan. Add the shallots and fry gently for 5 minutes until soft.

2. Stir in the garlic and cook for 8 minutes, until it starts to soften.

3. Add in the Arborio rice and stir until it is glistening with butter. Add the wine and cook until all of it has been absorbed.

4. In a separate pan, bring the stock to a simmer.

5. Add a ladleful of hot stock to the rice and cook over a moderate heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring until the liquid has absorbed. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.

6. Continue adding the stock, a ladleful at a time, until all or nearly all of it has been used and the rice is tender, this should take about 18 minutes from the first ladleful.

7. When the risotto is ready, remove from the heat and stir in the remaining butter, the basil and 4 tablespoons of grated Parmesan. The finished risotto should be quite fluffy but not soupy. Cover and set aside.

8. Meanwhile, make the pesto. Place the basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, Parmesan, pecorino, salt and freshly ground pepper in a food processor and blend until combined.

9. Overlap two Parma ham slices into a cross. Place a generous dollop of risotto in the centre of the ham and wrap the ham over the risotto to make a parcel.

10. Repeat the process making 4 parcels in all.

11. Peheat the grill.

12. Place a teaspoon of pesto on the top of each parcel (reserving the remaining pesto for future use) and sprinkle each parcel with a teaspoon of grated Parmesan.

13. Grill for 2 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and serve at once.

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