English Pea Risotto

by angelika on February 25, 2011

My friend posted on the Plant Food Fabulous facebook page that she was making one of my all time favorite recipes, Butternut Squash Risotto. It was a hit with her family, which inspired me to make a new risotto. I really love the creamy rice dish in any incarnation. We have at least a half dozen in out repertoire. My husband actually makes an amazing mushroom risotto! When I was at the market yesterday I saw the season’s first fresh peas, which were calling my name. Fresh peas, shucked from the pod, have such a fresh and bright taste with a delicious crispy pop to them. So unlike frozen peas. This risotto highlights the fresh peas, and compliments it with the creamy and slightly sweet mascarpone cheese. It was all I could do to not go back for thirds. 

English Pea Risotto

4 cup vegetable stock
1 cup water
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup peas
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2-4 oz mascarpone cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
fresh parsley for garnish
Heat the vegetable stock and water on medium low heat until it simmers, then turn the heat to low. In a large pot melt the butter and olive oil. Add the onions and saute until translucent. Add the garlic and saute for a minute. 
Add the rice and saute on medium low until the the rice has bright white flecks in the center of the grain. About 3 minutes. Add the wine and stir. The wine is an important step, it really prepares the rice to absorb all the stock. Once the wine is absorbed add your first ladle full stock. 

Now comes the waiting game. If you have never made risotto before you may be aware that it can get a bad rap as overly fussy and time consuming. I am here to tell you this just is not true. Yes, you add the stock a cup at a time and stir, but you don’t have to be tied to the stove. You just need to pay the rice a little attention every few minutes or so. Add a ladle full of warm stock, give a few stirs, and come back to check if it is absorbed. You continue to do this, refreshing the stock as the rice absorbs it. I judge this by running my spoon down the center of the pot; if my spoon is Moses parting the risotto sea, it is time for more. Keep doing this dance until the risotto is done al dente. About 15 minutes. You can taste the rice to check for doneness. You want it to be tender with a bit of a bite in middle.

getting a helper involved is great! 

I use this time I am tied to the kitchen to prepare my side. Tonight I roasted beets for an arugula salad. If you’d like to do the same, peel and dice the beets and roast them at 400º for 20-30 minutes, flipping half way through. I coat the beets with olive oil and a pinch salt and pepper first.  We served the salad with some toasted pecans, a dusting of parmesan to marry the dishes, and my Everyday Balsamic Dressing.

When the risotto is al dente, stir in the peas and a ladle of stock, stir then cover for 5 minutes. You’ll want to check after two and stir to prevent sticking. If you don’t have fresh peas yet you can use frozen. Just make sure to defrost them first.  Uncover and stir in one more ladle of stock, the parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper. Taste for doneness. You want it to be soft on the outside with just the slightest bit of resistance in the middle.

Add the mascarpone cheese. We added 4oz, which was half of the small tub from my market. It was really creamy. You could definitely get away with a lot less and still have the sweet and creamy flavor. Garnish with a dusting of parmesan cheese and some chopped italian parsley. 

A votre santé! 

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kate March 4, 2011 at 4:14 pm

Delicious! I was worried there wouldn't be any left for dinner because I kept sneaking tastes!


Melissa April 22, 2011 at 11:36 pm

Delicious. Everyone in the family loved it.


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