On chilly spring evenings, I still like to enjoy the fresh seasonal produce, and spring peas come to mind. Of the many ways to celebrate peas, risotto is a family favorite. I was fortunate to find fresh pea tendrils in my local Asian market, so I have incorporated them into the dish, as a garnish, and I used the leaves in a mint pesto — which marries quite well with the fresh peas! Here’s to SPRING!
For the rules for making risotto, please see Sizzleworks’ video.
You may want to kick the “green” and spring flavors up a notch so I recommend using my Pea Leaf & Mint Pesto as a plate garnish.
Spring Pea Risotto
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 ⁄4 cup finely chopped onion or shallot
- 1 ⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup Arborio rice *
- 1 ⁄2 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup fresh peas
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 ⁄4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- Pea tendrils for garnish
- Pea leaf and mint pesto for garnish
In small saucepan, heat chicken stock just to simmer; cover and keep hot.
In medium saucepan over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add onion and salt, sauté just until onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. While stirring, add rice, pouring it in “like rain,” so that each grain is separate. Continue sautéing and stirring about 4 minutes more. Rice will become slightly more opaque.
Add wine, stirring. As you stir, drag the spoon across the bottom of the pan; when you can see the dry pan at the bottom as you drag the spoon across, add about 1⁄4 cup of the hot chicken stock. It is important not to let the rice dry out at this point. Continue cooking and stirring. Each time you see the dry pan add about 1⁄4 cup of stock until all of the stock has been added. This will take about 20 minutes. Taste for doneness. The risotto should be slightly chewy in the center, or “al dente” as the Italians call it. Stir in the peas and Parmesan cheese. Correct the seasonings if necessary. Serve immediately if at all possible. If you must prepare this dish a few minutes in advance, keep warm, and stir in about 3 tablespoons of stock to restore the consistency before serving.
Garnish with pea tendrils, pea leaf pesto and green onion tops.
Makes 4 side dish servings.
*Arborio and Tesori rices are imported from Italy and found in Italian deli markets or large supermarkets. You may also use American risotto rice, available in some supermarkets. All have the fat, roundish grain, which will absorb a large quantity of liquid without becoming mushy.