Sunday, May 27, 2012

Give me love, give me peas

Things were looking good at the City Market in downtown Charlottesville today. By 9 a.m. the line for tacos was out to the street, and they don't sell breakfast tacos, unless you think chorizo is breakfast sausage. The steak and the al pastor tacos are the best I've had in Charlottesville.

I bought some great looking dinosaur kale and rainbow chard, a variety of lettuces and some rhubarb-sweet cherry jam. But what looked the best of all were the fresh peas. I put on a Daily Show episode I had missed, and before it was over, my pint of peas had yielded enough for this recipe.

Lori K's Spring Pea Risotto


3 1/2 cups regular or low-sodium vegetable broth

2 teaspoons unsalted butter

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 large shallot, finely diced

1 cup arborio rice

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 cup fresh shelled English peas

1 tablespoon butter (salted OK)

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring broth to a simmer.

For the risotto, heat butter and olive oil in a wide, shallow, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring, 3 minutes or until tender and translucent. Add the rice and toast for 1 to 2 minutes, or until slightly translucent. Add the wine and stir until it has evaporated.

Cook the risotto at a slow simmer, adding heated broth a half-cup at a time. Stir occasionally, making sure the risotto absorbs the liquid before adding more. Use more or less broth as needed.

Continue cooking in this manner for 18 to 20 minutes. Taste the risotto - it should be creamy and thick. It's best al dente, which means it should be fully cooked, yet still retain some firmness when you chew it.

When you have about 1 cup of broth left, stir in the raw peas. 

When the risotto is finished, turn off heat, stir in 1 tablespoon of butter, the Parmesan and season to taste with  sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Serve immediately.

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