Spring has finally hit the streets of my little northeastern town. This past week, I’ve watched the tree outside my window turn from teeny tiny buds to large puffs of neon green that look like they’re aglow as the sun sets for the evening. It’s entirely magical which makes up for my baking failure of the weekend. Homemade granola bars are taking me down. Me: 0. Them: 3. But there’s nothing a little spring sweet pea risotto can’t fix.
Sweet Pea Risotto
2 tbsp. butter or olive oil
1/2 sweet onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. arborio rice or a mixture of short grain brown rice, pearl barley, and spelt berries (as pictured)
3 c. chicken or vegetable broth, divided
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 c. sweet peas (fresh or frozen), divided
1 c. white wine
1/2 tsp. fresh basil or 1/4 tsp. dried basil
1/4 c. parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 c. half and half
freshly ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1. In a saucepan, melt butter or add olive oil on medium-high heat. Saute onions and garlic until translucent.
2. Add rice to pan, coating with butter mixture.
3. Turn heat down to medium, and add one cup of chicken or vegetable broth, stirring every so often. Season with bay leaf and salt and pepper.
4. Meanwhile puree 1 cup of peas and about 1/2 cup broth until smooth. Set aside.
5. Continue to add remaining broth, wine, and pea puree one cup at a time until liquid is absorbed, stirring more frequently as risotto thickens. For a lighter green color and deeper pea flavor, add the pea puree earlier on. For a brighter green color and lighter pea flavor, add the pea puree towards the end.
6. Once desired texture has been reached, remove bay leaf and stir in remaining peas, basil, parmesan, and half and half. Continue cooking for about 5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. If rice is too crunchy, continue adding stock 1/2 cup at a time.
7. Serve warm. Add lightly sauteed zucchini or asparagus to spice things up. To reheat, add more broth or water and cook on medium heat until warmed through.
Side notes: Don’t be tempted to cook too quickly. Risotto is a slow process taking about 40 min.-1 hr. The higher the heat and quicker you cook, the more liquid necessary. As noted, there’s no reason to stir continually the entire time. Begin stirring more frequently as risotto thickens and starts sticking to bottom of pan.