Monday, 23 May 2011

Pea & Spring Onion Risotto

I’ve been seriously cheesed off with my local supermarket for the last month or so. My helpful weekly email from Eat the Seasons has been telling me that spring onions are in season for weeks but all the while, my shop has been stocking ones from Mexico.

Finally, the English ones are on the shelves. Not that I have any against Mexican vegetables but I’d rather have fresher food that was grown closer to home where possible. Now that I’d got my mitts on a bunch of succulent, vivid green stems and I wanted to do them justice.

Risotto is a great base for flavours so give this a go. The flowers are out on the pea plants in many gardens that I’ve been to recently but for the moment, you may have to make do with frozen (which are just as good in my humble opinion). The recipe itself is loosely based on one originally by Nigella which can be found here.

Pea and Spring Onion Risotto
Serves two

150g frozen peas
4 spring onions, sliced
½ onion, finely chopped
4 stalks of celery, finely chopped
80ml white wine or dry vermouth
150g risotto rice (I used Arborio)
500ml stock
75g butter
50g parmesan

- On a low heat, gently melt 25g butter in a saucepan then add the peas and spring onions. Cook for two minutes or until the peas are defrosted. Remove half of the peas and spring onions from the pan and set aside for later. Add a ladle of the stock to the pan, cover and leave to simmer for a further four minutes until the peas are soft.
- Purée the cooked peas and spring onions with half of the parmesan, a grating of nutmeg and some pepper. Have a little taste because it is just divine! Now try not to eat the rest of it while you’re patiently stirring the risotto.
- Melt a further 25g of butter in the pan with a dash of oil and sweat the onion and celery for 5 minutes until transparent and soft but not coloured.
- Add the rice to the pan and stir until it is coated in the juices from the onion and celery. Turn up the heat a little and stir until the rice has soaked up any moisture.
- Pour in the wine or vermouth and stir until the rice has absorbed it.
- Add a ladleful of stock stirring all the time until it is absorbed. Repeat until you’ve run out of stock and the rice is tender (continue the process with hot water if it’s not).
- Stir the purée into the risotto and mix well until completely combined. Fold in the whole peas and spring onions.
- Just before serving, stir in the remaining butter and parmesan. Eat immediately, topped with grilled pancetta or your favourite vegetarian cheese.

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