Risotto aux petits pois et à la menthe

Risotto with peas and mint

This risotto may be made with either fresh or frozen peas. You will need to some have broth on hand — preferably homemade chicken broth or, for vegetarians, homemade vegetable broth. As for the rice, choose a risotto variety such as Arborio or Carnaroli.

For success, do not wash the rice. Its starch is what makes the risotto creamy, and this is what you are aiming for: a proper risotto should be forkable, not soupy. Also please note that athough many risotto recipes call for adding the broth to the rice ladleful by ladleful, this is not necessary. It can be added in larger quantities, as described below.

The risotto will be best if prepared just before serving. It takes about 30-40 minutes. The quantities below will serve 2 people as a main dish and 3 as a starter.

1-1/2 cup (180 g) shelled peas, fresh or frozen
1 tsp. sea salt or table salt

2 cups (1/2 liter) chicken broth or vegetable broth
2-3 sprigs fresh mint
1 small onion
1 tbsp. olive oil

2/3 cup (120 g) risotto rice
1/4 cup (60 ml) dry white wine
1-1/2 ounce (45 g) parmesan, ungrated
1 ounce (30 g / 2 tbsp.) cold unsalted butter
freshly ground black pepper

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the salt. Add the peas and cook until very tender, about 5 minutes.

While the peas are cooking, warm the broth in a separate saucepan. Snip the mint leaves. Mince the onion.

When the peas are ready, drain through a colander. Set aside about 1/3 of the peas in a small bowl. Transfer the rest to a blender. Add the snipped mint leaves. Add a ladleful of broth. Purée. If the purée is very thick, add more broth and purée again.

Heat the oil to sizzling in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the onion and sauté, stirring, until wilted, about 1 minute. Add the rice and sauté, stirring, until translucent, about 30 seconds. Add the wine. Allow to simmer until all the wine has been absorbed.

Now begin adding the broth. Start by adding about half of it, stir the risotto and allow to simmer until most of the broth is absorbed. Repeat with about half of the remaining broth. Continue adding broth until the rice is al dente — this takes about 15-20 minutes.

While the rice is cooking, grate the parmesan. You should have about 3/4 loosely packed grated cheese.

When the rice is al dente, stir in the puréed peas. Allow to simmer until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Stir in the whole peas. Grind on some black pepper. Turn off the heat.

Top with the parmesan and butter but do not mix. Simply cover the pan and let the risotto sit for two minutes.

Now mix the risotto, lifting the rice to blend well with the other ingredients. Serve at once. Serves 3 as a starter, 2 as a main dish.

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