Sweet Pea Risotto

On the last episode of Top Chef before the final, a contestant made a delicious Braised Veal with Fava Bean, Rapini and Leaf Risotto. The dish looked exquisite, both for the creamy risotto, but also for the moist, braised veal shanks. Adding the bone marrow from the shanks into the risotto must elevate this dish to the next level. Being that I didn’t have any veal shanks on hand and I really just wanted to make this quickly, I decided to use the risotto recipe…sorta.

*warning, Top Chef spoilers*

Maybe this really isn’t at all like that dish (recipe pdf), but the video posted by Rick Moonen, who takes you through the winning dish each week, gave me some great pointers for making risotto. One thing that I don’t usually do enough of is toasting the arborio rice after it is added to the pot. Most recipes I have posted in the past call for toasting for a minute or two. This recipe calls for 20 whole minutes of toasting! I nearly had it going that long, maybe 18 minutes. It seems that I used less stock than usual, but the risotto came out creamy, al dente and just delicious. I can only imagine it with fava beans, rapini, and its leaves. Next time, I’ll do it that way.

Without sounding like a broken record, I think I always say that risotto can be used with nearly any vegetables, so long as you blanche it first. The only caveat is that you don’t want too much of those “extras” that could take away from the creamy texture of the risotto. This version only uses sweet peas, Parmesan cheese, rosemary, and brown butter.

Serves 4 (the original recipe is double this one, serving 6-8)
Recipe based on Antonio’s Top Chef recipe

10 ounces (1 and 1/4 cups arborio rice)
1 1/2 cups white wine
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 red onion, 1/4″ dice
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup fresh sweet peas, blanched for 1 minute (or frozen, defrosted)
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup Parmesan Reggiano
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
extra virgin olive oil

Heat chicken stock in a medium sauce pan and keep on low heat. In a small sauce pan, heat butter over low heat until it is brown, about 10 minutes.

In heavy bottom pot, like dutch oven, heat about 2 tablespoons olive oil over low heat. When hot, add garlic and onions and cook about 4 minutes, until translucent.

Add arborio rice and stir heavily to coat rice with oil. Add a bit more oil, maybe 1 tablespoon. Continue to stir and toast rice on low heat for 15-20 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and add white wine. Stir constantly until evaporated. When wine has evaporated, add two ladles of chicken stock and continue to stir. Continue adding stock until the rice has a bit of a bite, but is not hard.** The rice will cook a bit more when you add remaining ingredients.

Reduce heat to low, add butter, peas, rosemary and cheese. Mix to combine and serve immediately.

**Tip: When you add chicken stock, the risotto should not stop simmering, so keep temp closer high, but stir to prevent any scorching.

About Evan Halperin

I like to eat. I like to cook. I like to eat what I cook. Now, I will share with you what I like to cook. My wife and I may be a vegetarian and a carnivore, but it doesn’t mean we can’t cook a nice meal with both, without compromising taste. I will share my creative meals of the Carnivore and the Vegetarian.
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3 Responses to Sweet Pea Risotto

  1. Kevin says:

    This looks delicious

  2. The rice looks a bit wet. I think it would be better if it’s a bit drier.

  3. Thanks for the comment. I’ve always found that Risotto should be a bit moist so it spreads on the plate and not stand.

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