Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Nigella's Pea Risotto

We are forever stealing risotto recipes from Nigella Lawson's How to Eat cookbook, but this one is so good we can't help it. Unfortunately, I bought the book while living in England so none of the metric measurements have been translated into the more familiar American cups and ounces. Normally I would do that for you before posting the recipe online, but today I say "It's time for you to buy a scale!" A simple, cheap, mechanical version will suffice. You should be able to find them at any vast box selling merchandise.

Pea Risotto

serves 2
60 g unsalted butter
2 liters stock (chicken or vegetable)
150 g frozen peas
one small onion, small dice
2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
200 g Arborio rice
80 ml dry white wine
2 Tbs. parmesan

In a small saucepan melt 1/3 of the butter on low heat. To this add the peas and cook for 2 minutes. Meanwhile warm the stock on a neighboring burner and hold it there. Add 2 ladelfuls of stock to the peas, cover, and cook for five more minutes. In a large skillet, melt another 1/3 of the butter. To this add the evoo and onion. When the onion is translucent, add the uncooked arborio rice and stir to cover the grains in fat. They will glisten and become clear at their tips. Add the wine to the pan and allow it to bubble away. When the rice is almost dry (take care that it isn't sticking to the skillet) begin adding the warmed stock a ladleful at a time allowing the rice to absorb the liquid between additions. You will continue in this way until all the stock has been added stirring the risotto from time to time to ensure it cooks evenly.
Now for the peas that have been patiently waiting. Ladle half of the mixture into a blender and pulse until it is pureed. Add this puree and the whole peas with their cooking liquid to the risotto near the end of its cooking time.
When all the stock has been added taste the risotto for doneness. It should have the consistency of al dente pasta. If it is still undercooked, make more stock and continue adding it. If it is finished, go ahead and add the parmesan cheese, the last 1/3 of the butter, and a quick grating of nutmeg. Viola!

*Nutmeg is one of those spices like pepper that loses much of its impact in powdered form. Buy it whole and grate it when needed. Another tip, it can usually be found more cheaply packaged in bags alongside the plethora of Mexican goods sold in most southwest stores. However, it needs to be stored in a glass container at home to protect and preserve it.


Ange said...

Spelling mistakes:
Liters should be Litres
Ladelfuls should be Ladlefuls

The Charity Shop Fairy said...

Just an FYI for any veggies, parmesan is not vegetarian!

Ulatoja said...

Parmesan is vegetarian it is not vegan!

The Charity Shop Fairy said...

It is possible to buy perfectly good veggie parmesan-style cheese, yes, but true parmesan (parmeggiano reggiano) is a protected cheese that must be made in the traditional way, ie with calf rennet. Many specialist or protected origin ('D.O.P.') cheeses aren't veggie.

Kammilska said...

I do second Ulatoja.. :) Parmesan IS suitable for vegetarians but not vegans. Vegetarians are those who do not eat meat or meat products. Vegans abstain from both. Cheese is not a meat product in any sense. Vegetarians eat eggs AND cheese:) not to mention they also drink wine and beer:) cheers!

Joseph Coen said...

Kammilska, why did you not read the comment immediately before yours?
Parmesan certainly IS a meat product in the sense that it contains rennet, which is processed from animals' stomachs, usually calves.
Vegetarian cheeses exist, but if a cheese doesn't contain rennet, it cannot call itself parmesan.