Fresh garden peas are a wonderful Spring treat, one of the first vegetables to arrive and the first to leave. This risotto recipe provides creamy comfort alongside the freshness mint and the sweetness of the final pea harvest. Delicious.
Fresh Pea Risotto with Mint
1/2 cup Arborio rice
1/4 white onion, finely diced
1 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese plus more to garnish if desired
1 ¼ cup fresh garden peas
¼ cup dry white wine
1 ½ cups vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste
1 fresh mint sprig
Bring two cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the peas and blanch for 2-3 minutes, until bright green. Drain and plunge peas into ice water to cool and stop the cooking process; drain again. Add 1/4 cup of the blanched peas to a blender with 1 tsp of water and pulse into a puree until smooth. Set puree and remaining peas aside.
Add butter to a saucepan pan on medium-low heat and sweat the onions 4-5 minutes until tender and translucent. Do not brown.
Add the Arborio rice to the onion and stir to coat the grains in oil. Stir with a wooden spoon and cook for 2-3 minutes until the grains of rice are completely white. This step toasts the rice for both flavor and texture.
Add the wine to the pan and stir until almost completely absorbed. Add half of the stock to the saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook risotto while stirring gently for about 20 minutes. Once the rice has absorbed the water and begins to swell, add the remaining liquid gradually, stirring, allowing to absorb before adding more. Season with salt and pepper.
When the rice is tender, add the mint sprig. Remove from the heat and gently stir in the pea puree, remaining peas and ¼ cup grated cheese. Mix through, remove the mint sprig and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve into bowls and garnish with lemon wedges and grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
Chef’s note: to retain as much of the pea sugars and freshness as possible, harvest peas shortly before cooking.