Wednesday, June 16, 2010

6th Avenue : Round Two - English Pea Risotto

So here I am, in the middle of June, dodging rain drops to teach Tacoma Farmers Market-goers how to make yummy risotto.  Fortunately the sun came out for my demonstration this week so we had about fifty people watch at least part of the demonstration!  A few people stayed for the entire show - that always makes ya feel good!

I chose to make a traditional risotto garnished with english (shelling) peas; partially because peas are one of the first things to hit the market and partially because english peas rock my world.  We had gorgeous peas and spring Walla Walla onions donated by Bautista Farms out of Mabton, WA.  The guys at the booth were super sweet and besides, their produce kicked some serious behind when it came to quality and flavor.  Please support people like them- using their produce makes all the difference in the world.

English Pea Risotto

1 small leek
½ small onion, finely diced
3 T butter
1 c arborio rice
½ c white wine (optional)
4-5 c chicken or vegetable stock, held at a low simmer
1 c shelled English peas
1 c freshly grated parmesan
salt to taste

In a pot of boiling lightly salted water, blanch the peas until tender. Drain and shock in an ice bath.
Halve the leek, finely slice into ½ moons, then immerse completely in cool water, agitating to separate the pieces and allowing the grit to fall away. Gently lift the leeks out of the water and onto a towel to dry. Heat a medium saucepan over medium-low heat and melt the butter. Add the onion and leek, then sweat until very tender but not browning. Add the rice and stir for about one minute to coat each grain with the fat (this is called “parching”). Add the white wine at this point (optional), and stirring frequently, allow the wine to be absorbed. Then, add just enough stock to cover the rice grains, and stir frequently until most of the liquid is absorbed. Continue adding stock in this manner until the rice is tender to the bite (think like al dente pasta) but certainly not mushy! Fold in the the peas and parmesan, and adjust the consistency with the remaining stock if necessary- the mixture should be very loose and should not hold it's shape when spooned out. Season as desired.
yield: four servings

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