Chop the onion into big chunks, slightly smaller than a dime. Throw them in a large frying pan. Pour some olive oil on the onions and put on low heat. You want to caramelize the onions just a bit. When you start to see color on the onions throw in your finely chopped garlic.
You do not want the onions to get extremely soft. Add some ground pepper while you are at it.
Keep your chicken stock heating in a pan next to your fry pan as you will be adding over time. (Not all at once). Just keep adding a ladle at a time as the risotto begins to absorb the stock. One of the reasons I prefer to use homemade chicken stock is because I have not added sodium to it.
The prosciutto will add a lot of saltiness and this helps me control the salt. If you make this recipe with store-bought stock, it may turn out very salty.
Just as the onions begin to lose their firmness and the garlic starts to change, add the arborio rice and a couple of ladles of hot stock. (You want the onions to be a little hard as they will cook for a while and their texture adds to the final result) You will see steam and hear the scald when you do this.
The secret to risotto is slowly adding chicken stock. Not to let it boil and not to let it fry. When you see the top of the rice and the liquid bubbling, you know it is going well.
Keep a few small spoons handy as you will need to keep checking the texture of the arborio rice. It usually takes about an hour and a half to complete this recipe so you will have to attend to it the entire time.
Some people add saffron to the stock but I prefer to wait about half an hour and add straight to pan. The stock is effectively boiling in the pan and the flavors throughout the house are amazing.
If you see you are using more stock and the risotto is not going to be done before you run out, just add more water to your stock pan. You already have the flavor of chicken stock in the meal and it won’t dilute the flavor.
As the rice starts to soften it will begin to release the starches and you start to see a creamy consistency form where before it was just a watery consistency. Once you bite into a kernel of rice and it becomes softer, keep in mind how much more liquid you will need to add before it is perfect, the al dente you prefer.
Shred some cheese and add it with the prosciutto that you lightly shred (amount of cheese will depend on how thick you want the creaminess to be). The last couple of ladles of liquid are crucial because you are going to want it to cook enough where it absorbs the last bit of liquid but still has a nice creamy texture. But if you put in too much liquid, your rice will absorb so much it will get too soft. Put in too much liquid and end up not cooking it enough and you end up with a watery risotto.
When you are done, turn the heat off and serve hot. Shred a little more cheese on the top for flavor and appearance, and you will make one of the best risottos out there.