During the summer I usually find myself craving light, cool foods. However, the weather in Southern California last week was rather gloomy leading me to crave some warm and cozy. Then, when I saw that there were shelling peas in this week’s CSA, sweet pea risotto just seemed like a necessary meal!
Reggie and I shelled a big bunch of peas while watching this week’s episode of Modern Family. So funny! My method of shelling is pretty simple and effective. I pinch off a piece of each end and then I slice along the indented ridge on one side of the pod. If you closely examine the pods themselves, there are two ridges. They appear to be identical but one is raised and one is indented. Make sure you slice along the right side otherwise the process will be much more challenging. Once the pod is opened, I slide all of the peas inside into a small bowl.
Then I prepare my ingredients–mis en place if you will. 🙂 This can be a bit tedious but trust me when you are making the risotto, you will be thankful you spent the extra time!
After melting 2 tablespoons of the butter, I sautee the garlic for about 30 seconds. Then I add the rice to “toast” it a bit and deepen the flavor.
Now, let’s talk wine! When it comes to risotto, it is true what people say about just using a wine you love to drink. Besides, you never use the whole bottle for the risotto so the rest can go…
So weird! How did that get in there? 😉
All kidding aside, you will need the wine at this point because for the next 25 minutes, you will keep stirring. RIsotto is not a particularly hard dish to make, just time consuming. Add small amount of stock, stir, and then once the rice absorbs that liquid, repeat! From my understanding, this process is what makes the risotto so creamy with such little butter or cream, because the starches from the rice are being released slowly.
Sweet Pea Summer Risotto
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1 quart vegetable stock
1/2 cup good white wine (something you would like to drink!)
1 cup shelled peas
1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
2 teaspoons fresh garlic
3 tablespoons butter or Earth Balance
Salt & Pepper
1. Heat a large pan to medium high heat. Once hot, add butter/Earth Balance. Then, add your garlic and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
2. Pour the rice into the pan and stir to coat in butter/garlic mixture. “Toast” for 1 minute.
3. Add white wine into the pot, stir, and allow the rice to absorb the liquid.
4. Once the wine is absorbed, keep adding 1/4-1/2 cup portions of vegetable stock to the rice mixture. Stir frequently to make sure rice does not stick. You will use almost the entire quart of stock but sometimes less. Cook until al dente.
5. Meanwhile, boil 3 cups of water in a separate pan. Blanch the peas for just 1 minute then transfer immediately to an ice bath.
6. Once the rice is finished cooking, add the peas, cheese, the last tablespoon of butter/Earth Balance, and salt and pepper to taste.
7. Serve hot–enjoy!
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this post, where I turn the leftover risotto into my favorite arancini di riso.