Pea and Mint Risotto
My mum came to visit me in 2014. We had a blast of a time during the two weeks she was here and we crammed in a mammoth amount of touristy things.
One of the things we did was went for a cookery lesson at Jamie Oliver’s cooking school Recipease which, sadly, no longer exists. We travelled by tube to Notting Hill Gate and we literally only had to turn around to walk through the door from the station exit.
It was here that I made the first of many Pea and Mint Risotto’s. Although I’ve been trying to replicate the recipe exactly the way I’ve learnt it comes out differently every time. It has now reached a stage where I now can throw it together without thinking! The one tip I will give you beforehand is to make sure you are comfortable – you’ll be stirring your risotto for the good part of half an hour… Here is my version that is enough for two very generous servings:
- 150 grams Carnaroli rice
- 275 ml white wine
- 1 litre of vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (not extra virgin)
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 3 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 40 grams Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- 1 handful fresh peas (frozen is also good, but not canned, keep the pods if you have them)
- 15 grams of fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
- 1 lime, zest and juice
- The first thing to do is to ensure the stock is simmering nicely. You definitely don’t want it to boil as it will form this nasty scum on the top. You just want it at a temperature that will allow for quick absorption by the rice. If you did have to shell the peas then add the pods into the stock. You can also add the rind of the parmesan and offcuts from the onions and celery if you have it. It all just adds flavour.
- In a big saucepan (I use a wok), melt the butter and add the olive oil to it. Now it is time to make your sofrito. A sofrito is a flavour base used in many cuisines all over the world, most notably Italy. It usually consist of finely chopped onion, celery and garlic which is gently fried on a low heat in oil/butter until soft and translucent, but not browned. Once your sofrito has reached this stage it is time to add your rice.
- Gently tip the rice into the saucepan, keeping the heat low, and stir until all the grains are coated in oil. Don’t let it toast otherwise the stock won’t absorb!
- Pour in the wine and stir (with a wooden spoon is preferable) until the liquid has been absorbed.
- Turn your heat up to medium and scoop up (your first of many) ladle of stock, making sure you don’t get any of the vegetable bits in. Gently pour it over your rice and continue the stirring.
- Continue in this fashion until your rice is cooked through – it should not be soggy or broken up, but soft when you bite into it. If you run out of stock, just top up the stock pot with water.
- Now that your rice is cooked, the real fun starts! Take your rice off the heat. Now scatter 30 grams of the Parmesan over the rice and stir vigorously until your risotto is glossy. Stir in the peas, mint and lime and let it sit for five minutes for the flavours to develop.
- Serve in a deep bowl and season with pepper and the rest of the parmesan.
You’ve probably noticed that I didn’t use salt at all. With the stock and the parmesan you really don’t need to add salt, however, if you must, then only add at the end after you’ve tasted it first. I use carnaroli rice as I find it much firmer than arborio. If you do have left overs then this could be easily transformed into arancini. Take your cold rice and form about a golf-sized ball. Place a halved bocconcini (baby mozzarella ball) in the middle before dipping in flour, egg and breadcrumbs. Deep-fry until golden and serve with this homemade pizza sauce as dip. You can thank me later!
If you liked this recipe, why not try some of my other dishes?