Sometimes when I plant pea seeds in the garden, I can feel my impatience to see them sprout and feel there is a small child inside of me avidly watching the ground for the first sign of lime green to poke through deep brown. That child is practically dancing around the pea bed, with barely contained restraint. While outside, of course, I’m an adult and wait patiently for each new delight, savoring the waiting and the manifestation with my hands folded nicely in my lap. NOT.
The peas have come really well under the cold frame where I can control the amount of water they receive and avoid both drying out from spring winds and rotting from spring rains. I think I may have found my system!
This week’s column also has Snap Pea, Almond and Feta Salad; Lemony Peas, Pea Shoots and Tomatoes; Pea Shoots with Red Peppers and Red Onion.
Green Pea Risotto
1 1/2 cups fresh peas
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup diced onions, about 1 onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
several grinds of fresh white pepper
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
In a medium sauce pan, bring the chicken broth to a boil. Meanwhile add the half the peas to a blender. When the broth is hot, add gradually to the peas in amounts just enough to achieve a smooth paste or a little looser. Reserve the remaining broth in the pan off the heat. Puree the peas until they are very smooth.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and salt and sauté until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. If the onions begin to brown, reduce heat. When the onions are done add the rice and stir with a wooden spoon for one minute. Add the white wine and stir. Bring the wine to a simmer stirring occasionally. When the liquid has mostly evaporated, which you can tell by sight of course, but you can also hear it as the rice begins to get a little noisier and crackle just a little, add 1 cup of the chicken broth and stir. Continue to add the stock, one cup at a time, until it is all incorporated, stirring frequently and listening for changes in the sounds of the rice. When the rice is almost done and needs maybe only a minute or two more, add the pea purée, the rest of the fresh peas and the white pepper. The rice is done when the liquid is completely incorporated but everything is still creamy and the grains are just the tiniest bit al dente in the center. Add the Parmesan cheese, stir and serve immediately.