A spring risotto dinner that is warm enough for cooler spring nights, bright enough with green veggies and lemon, and satisfying enough with ham and the best cheese.
1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Chop hard ends off broccolini and discard. Chop heads off and set aside. Slice stems into 1 inch long rods. Add stems to pot and cook for 3-4 mins until softened. Add heads and cook for an additional minute until bright green. Drain and set aside.
2. Add broth and bay leaves to a medium saucepan and place over low heat. In a separate medium to large saucepan, melt butter. Add chopped onion and cook over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1-2 additional minutes until fragrant.
3. Add the arborio rice and stir for 2-3 minutes until it begins to turn translucent and starts to toast slightly. Add the white wine and simmer until the liquid is absorbed, 3-5 minutes.
4. Add 1/2 cup chicken broth and simmer, stirring until it is absorbed. Continue adding 1/2 cup amounts at a time, stirring until absorbed after each addition. After 20-25 minutes rice should be cooked through yet still pourable. Add additional broth if needed.
5. Season with kosher salt and black pepper, then stir in gruyere, reserved broccolini, and ham.
6. Serve immediately topped with lemon zest, chives, and additional gruyere.