Spring Risotto with fresh peas and vegetable broth from seasonal greens.
Most items will be at the spring farm market except, rice, olive oil & wine.
* 3 tablespoons extra virgin Olive Oil
* 1/3 cup New Onions diced & herbs as desired
(onion green tops and herb steams for stock, some fennel stalks are also good)
* 1/3 cup Cured or smoked pork/bacon/swine product, diced. Use for flavor not volume. Guanciale, proscuitto, pork belly, pancetta, etc. If you don’t eat meat its fine to omit.
* 1 cup Italian Risotto Rice, Nano Vialone is traditional for Rissi & Bisi
(or use a grain like spelt, fresh wheat, barley)
* ¾ cup White wine or Verjus (fresh wine grape juice)
* 1 pound (or more) Green Peas (shells & shots reserved for stock)
* 5-8 spears Asparagus (optional, if still available), peeled and sliced on the bias, ½ inch pieces.
* 1/3 cup grated/crumbled Cheese & 3 tablespoons Butter to finish and enrich
*Salt, White Pepper to taste
1. First shell peas, top & clean onions, clean herbs (using the stalks for stock) and make a vegetable stock covering with water, or clear chicken stock – but not too string, you want the flavor of the pea pods. Cover with liquid, a few cracked white peppercorns, add a little white wine if desire. Simmer ½ hour, strain, keep warm over low heat for making risotto.
2. Use a 2-3 pan, and wooden spoon, sauté onions in olive oil over medium heat until soft, not brown, add diced pork for about 3-5 minutes, render some of their fat.
3. Add risotto and gently stir rice until coated with oil and translucent & clear, about 2-3 minutes. Up to this stage rice can be stopped cooking, and then finished later with stock & wine.
4. Add white wine and stirred until nearly evaporated, alcohol cooked off.
5. Then add 1/3 of warm stock, stir a few times, keep heat to a simmer, not a boil, until liquid is absorbed by rice. Repeat with rest of stock. Add water if too dry, or rice is still hard. This risotto should be soupy, not dry.
6. When rice is almost cooked, about 12-15 minutes, add asparagus and then peas. Don’t overcook, really just to warm (they will continue to cook when served in hot risotto)
7. Then just before serving, add butter, incorporate and thicken (along with the rice starch), add cheese, fresh herbs add some water if not soupy enough. Ladle into bowls, decorate with pea shoots, serve warm.
Note: you want to taste the fresh peas, spring herbs and stock from the pea pods – don’t overwhelm with too much butter, cheese or pork, salt & pepper