Friday, 2 July 2010

Peas & rocket risotto

Summer and fresh peas finally arrived! Would you believe I have something in common with one of the Hairy Bikers? I would be able to eat all of the fresh peas when podding, like David Myers. When he was a young boy his mum used to ask him to help her with podding peas. She told him to whistle when doing this and every time the whistling stopped, she was shouting: you eat the peas again! I really wanted to eat this risotto and because I would not be able to buy some more fresh peas on Friday night I used some common sense and podded the whole cup of fresh peas without eating it.

Not long time ago when awaiting fresh peas I was really keen to cook a classic Italian risi e bisi, which has more soup like consistency, but I completely forgot about it but I hope I will be able to cook it this summer and show it on my blog. Today I show the outcome of my Friday’s night improvisation.

Serves 2

about 30g butter
1 onion or shallot, peeled and finely chopped
approx. 1 litre vegetable stock (I also boiled peas pods in it)
150g risotto rice (such as arborio or carnaroli)
150ml dry white wine
handful of rocket + few leaves for topping
cup of fresh podded peas
zest of one lemon (make sure you zest yellow part only, white one is bitter)
freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese

Keep the stock hot all the time. In a separate pan heat half of the butter, add the shallot and fry very slowly for about 15 minutes without colouring until softened. Then add rice and turn up the heat.

Fry the rice, stirring all the time. After a minute it will look slightly translucent. Add the wine and keep stirring for minute, until alcohol will evaporate.

Once the wine has cooked into the rice, add a ladle of hot stock and turn down the heat to a simmer so the rice does not cook too quickly on the outside. Keep adding ladlefuls of stock, stirring – you will notice a creamy starch from the rice. This is why you have to allow each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. This will take around 15-20 minutes, until the rice is cooked. For the last 5 minutes add lemon zest and peas. Season with salt and pepper.

Remove from the heat and add the remaining butter, 2 tbsp parmesan and rocket (save some for later). Stir well and allow to rest for 2 minutes – this will make risotto really creamy and oozy. Serve immediately (as risotto cannot be reheated!) sprinkled with the remaining parmesan cheese and some rocket on the top.

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