I love that this dish uses a puree of thawed frozen peas to infuse their flavor throughout the rice. By pureeing, we lose the risk of any textural issues from freezing and thawing, and the topping of fresh pea shoots will make everyone think they're eating a perfect, "fresh" spring pea dish!
Technique tips: The trick with all risotto is to have the grains of rice tender but creamy, and the only way to get this is to add the broth or cooking liquid little by little to give it time to absorb without turning the rice soggy. The other trick is to use a short grain rice (like Italian Arborio) because it has a higher starch content, meaning it will be sticky without soaking up too much liquid. It is also traditional to toast the rice gently (just until hot, not until it turns brown) in hot butter or oil before adding the initial liquid. This will help the rice absorb the cooking liquid slowly so it keeps its tender texture.
- 5 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 cups frozen peas
- 2 tablespoons butter, unsalted
- 4 shallots, minced
- 1½ cups Arborio rice
- 5 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup fresh pea shoots, to garnish
- 1 cup freshly grated pecorino cheese
- Good quality olive oil, to finish
- Flaky sea salt, to finish
1. Place broth in a pot or saucepan and bring to a low simmer. Drop peas into simmering broth for 2 minutes to thaw, then use a slotted spoon to remove peas to a food processor and blend until smooth. Set aside.
2. Add 1/2 cup water to remaining broth and return to a simmer and cover while you prepare remaining risotto steps. Replenish liquid with water as needed (always make sure you are adding hot liquid to your rice as you cook).
3. In a large pan, melt the butter and add the shallots and salt. Stir and gently sauté until shallots re translucent and soft, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir continuously to toast just until grains are hot, about a minute, then add 1/2 cup of broth, allow it to come up to a simmer and stir gently until absorbed. Add another half cup, stir gently until absorbed, and repeat this process until rice is tender and creamy but still slightly al dente, about 30 minutes.
4. Remove risotto from the heat and stir in the pureed peas, Pecorino cheese, and a few generous cracks of pepper. Allow to sit 2-3 minutes, then serve in shallow bowls topped with fresh pea shoots, a drizzle of olive oil, and some flaky salt.