I've only made risotto a few times in the past, so it's not something I'm overly familiar with cooking. I don't find it to be very difficult though and you can make it with so many different vegetables, herbs, cheeses, etc. that the possibilities are almost endless. I've made pumpkin risotto before (in a cute pumpkin/squash bowl) and enjoyed it a lot. I saw a recipe for a pea risotto in the Harvest to Heat cookbook and thought that a bit of modification to include different onions would make an excellent springtime risotto. In this risotto I used spring (green) onions, shallot, garlic, and chives along with fresh peas and pea shoots to really highlight the delicate onion and pea flavors of spring. If you have fresh ramps, these would be an excellent addition! My husband tasted this dish and said it "tastes like pea soup for spring." This is definitely due to the addition of bacon on top, which is optional, but really delicious. Ham or pancetta would also be work. This recipe will serve about four people as a main course.
Spring onion and pea risotto
2 cups fresh peas (shelled)
about 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons butter, divided
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 medium shallot, minced
about 5-6 spring (green) onions, sliced, greens and whites separated
1-1/2 cups arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
about 4-6 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
4 slices of bacon
about 2 cups fresh pea shoots
2 tablespoons minced fresh chives, divided
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, divided
sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
In a small pot, bring salted water to a boil and then add the fresh peas. Blanch for about one minute then drain. Add the peas to a food processor, reserving about 1/4 cup. Puree the peas with the basil until smooth. Set aside.
Heat the chicken (or vegetable stock) in a pot until it is hot and then keep it hot on low heat.
In a large skillet, melt one tablespoon of butter. When it is hot, add the shallot and the white parts of the spring onions. Cook for about one minute and then add the garlic, some salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until fragrant (about one minute). Add the rice and stir to coat. Cook the rice, stirring often, until it is lightly toasted and all covered in the butter and onion mixture.
Add the wine to the skillet and stir. Continue to stir until all of the wine has been absorbed. Reduce the heat to low and then begin to add the stock one ladle at a time. After each ladle has been added, stir the rice until the stock is absorbed and then another ladle stock. Continue to do this until the rice is cooked to al dente and has become thick and creamy. Taste the rice to ensure that is it done to your liking.
In the meantime, cook the bacon in a separate skillet until is is golden and crispy. Set aside on paper towels when it is finished. Wipe out the pan until just a coating of the bacon fat remains. Then quickly stir-fry the pea shoots in the pan until they just begin to wilt.
Stir the pea puree into the risotto along with the remaining butter, one tablespoon of chives, one tablespoon of parsley, about 1/3 cup of the spring onion greens, and the reserved whole peas. Season with salt and pepper. Top each serving of the risotto with one piece of crumbled bacon, 1/4 of the pea shoots, and use the remaining chives, parsley, and spring onion greens (and even some more basil) to garnish.
What was I cooking one year ago?: steak tacos with pico de gallo