Spring Pea Risotto

Fresh, sweet peas combined with luxurious fat grains of rice makes for an exceptional spring dish, with just enough heartiness if the weather isn’t consistently warm yet.
By Valentina Mariani

Spring Pea Risotto

This receipt comes from Restaurant Brasserie Blanc in London and it’s perfect to welcome guests at home on a sunny Sunday .

Spring Pea Risotto
 
Fresh, sweet peas combined with luxurious grains of rice makes for an exceptional spring pea risotto, with a touch of heartiness for a cool spring day.
Serves: Serves 4–6
Ingredients
Pea stock
  • 350g fresh pea pods, shelled (use shells for the stock and peas for the purée and vegetables)
  • 350ml iced water
Pea purée
  • 100g fresh peas (shelled weight)
  • 10g unsalted butter
  • Pinch of sea salt
Risotto
  • ½ white onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp refined olive oil or 30g unsalted butter
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely grated
  • 200g carnaroli rice
  • 100ml white wine, plus extra to finish (optional)
  • 40g freshly grated Parmesan
  • Pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Vegetables
  • 5g unsalted butter
  • 120g baby courgettes, cut into 2mm slices
  • 140g fresh peas (podded weight)
  • 40g French breakfast radish, sliced
  • 40g radish tops
  • 40g baby leaf spinach
To finish
  • Juice of ¼ lemon
  • 50ml extra virgin olive oil or 50g unsalted butter
Garnish
  • 15g pea shoots, blanched in boiling water for 5 seconds
  • 20g Parmesan shavings
Instructions
Pea stock
  1. Start by making the pea stock, in a large pan of simmering water, blanch the pea pod shells for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, remove the blanched shells and refresh them in the iced water. (By refreshing the pods in the iced water you not only retain the colour but also the freshness and maximize the retention of vitamins and nutrients.)
  2. Once cooled, blitz the iced water and blanched pea pods in a food processor until smooth and strain through a fine sieve. Set aside 100ml to make the pea purée and the remaining 500ml to make the risotto.
Pea purée
  1. In a small saucepan on a medium heat, sweat the peas in the butter for 5 minutes, adding a pinch of salt. Add the 100ml of reserved pea stock, bring to a boil and simmer for 4 minutes. Transfer to a blender or food processor, blend until smooth and leave to cool.
Risotto
  1. In a medium saucepan on a low heat, sweat the onion in the olive oil with a pinch of salt for 2 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic. Stir in the rice and continue to cook on a low heat for 3 minutes, until the grains of rice appear shiny (this will give flavour and prevent them sticking together).
  2. Pour in the white wine, then the 500ml of reserved pea stock, stir and bring to the gentlest simmer with only one bubble breaking the surface every minute. Season with salt and pepper then cover with a lid and leave to cook for 20 minutes. Check every now and again that it is not boiling.
  3. After 20 minutes of cooking, pick up a grain of rice. You will see a tiny speck of white starch in the middle – this means the risotto is nearly cooked. Now you need to add the creaminess that we love so much in a risotto and that means 5 minutes of hard and fast stirring. By beating the rice, each grain will rub against another, which will extract the starch and give the rice its beautifully creamy consistency. Stir in 200ml of the cooled pea purée, which will revive the colour and add freshness. Stir in the Parmesan, taste and correct the seasoning. Set aside.
Vegetables
  1. In a small saucepan on a high heat, bring the butter, 50ml of water and a pinch of salt to the boil. Add the courgettes, cover with a lid and cook on a high heat for 30 seconds, then add the peas, radishes, radish tops and spinach, cover again and continue for 20 seconds.
  2. To finish the risotto, stir in the lemon juice, olive oil or butter and maybe a dash of white wine to sharpen the flavour. Taste and adjust the seasoning. You can serve the risotto in a large dish topped with the vegetables, blanched pea shoots and a few shavings of Parmesan, if using, or in four large bowls.

 

Serves 4–6

Ingredients

Pea stock

350g fresh pea pods, shelled (use shells for the stock and peas for the purée and vegetables)

350ml iced water

Pea purée

100g fresh peas (shelled weight)

10g unsalted butter

?Pinch of sea salt

Risotto

1?2 white onion, diced

?2 tbsp refined olive oil or 30g unsalted butter

1 small garlic clove, finely grated

200g carnaroli rice

100ml white wine, plus extra to finish (optional)

?40g freshly grated Parmesan

?Pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Vegetables

5g unsalted butter

?120g baby courgettes, cut into 2mm slices

?140g fresh peas (podded weight)

40g French breakfast radish, sliced

40g radish tops

?40g baby leaf spinach

To finish

Juice of 1?4 lemon

?50ml extra virgin olive oil or 50g unsalted butter

Garnish

15g pea shoots, blanched in boiling water for 5 seconds

20g Parmesan shavings

Method

 

Pea stock

Start by making the pea stock, in a large pan of simmering water, blanch the pea pod shells for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, remove the blanched shells and refresh them in the iced water. (By refreshing the pods in the iced water you not only retain the colour but also the freshness and maximise the retention of vitamins and nutrients.)

Once cooled, blitz the iced water and blanched pea pods in a food processor until smooth and strain through a fine sieve. Set aside 100ml to make the pea purée and the remaining 500ml to make the risotto.

Pea purée

In a small saucepan on a medium heat, sweat the peas in the butter for 5 minutes, adding a pinch of salt. Add the 100ml of reserved pea stock, bring to a boil and simmer for 4 minutes. Transfer to a blender or food processor, blend until smooth and leave to cool.

Risotto

In a medium saucepan on a low heat, sweat the onion in the olive oil with a pinch of salt for 2 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic. Stir in the rice and continue to cook on a low heat for 3 minutes, until the grains of rice appear shiny (this will give flavour and prevent them sticking together).

Pour in the white wine, then the 500ml of reserved pea stock, stir and bring to the gentlest simmer with only one bubble breaking the surface every minute. Season with salt and pepper then cover with a lid and leave to cook for 20 minutes. Check every now and again that it is not boiling.

After 20 minutes of cooking, pick up a grain of rice. You will see a tiny speck of white starch in the middle – this means the risotto is nearly cooked. Now you need to add the creaminess that we love so much in a risotto and that means 5 minutes of hard and fast stirring. By beating the rice, each grain will rub against another, which will extract the starch and give the rice its beautifully creamy consistency. Stir in 200ml of the cooled pea purée, which will revive the colour and add freshness. Stir in the Parmesan, taste and correct the seasoning. Set aside.

Vegetables

In a small saucepan on a high heat, bring the butter, 50ml of water and a pinch of salt to the boil. Add the courgettes, cover with a lid and cook on a high heat for 30 seconds, then add the peas, radishes, radish tops and spinach, cover again and continue for 20 seconds.

 

To finish the risotto, stir in the lemon juice, olive oil or butter and maybe a dash of white wine to sharpen the flavour. Taste and adjust the seasoning. You can serve the risotto in a large dish topped with the vegetables, blanched pea shoots and a few shavings of Parmesan, if using, or in four large bowls.

Valentina Mariani

Gemini with ascendants in Lion (enough said?). Red hair, horse rider and lover, fortune-teller and a little bit witch, but also traveller and photographer! She loves black and white pictures, ancient and forgotten cinemas and the sea. She'd like to live in a forest, (but now she lives in London). As a Lion, she loves meat (both cooked and raw), sushi and salads. As a Gemini, she loves cooking without weighting the ingredients. Valentina's masterpiece in kitchen is her famous pear and chocolate tard! If she was an animal, she would be a horse. If she was a cat, she would be a chocolate souffle, filled with raspberry cream!

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