Recipe for Risotto with fresh tender garden peas, finished with a pea and herb puree
4 1/2 cups vegetable stock
2 cups fresh or frozen peas
small handful of fresh mint leaves
small handful of fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 cup arborio or other risotto rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
2/3 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
fresh ground black pepper
If using frozen peas, cook for 2 to 3 minutes in a small saucepan of boiling water. Drain and set aside.
Bring the vegetable stock to a good simmer in a small saucepan. Transfer 1/2 cup of the stock to a small blender or food processor and add 1/2 cup of the peas along with the mint and basil. Puree until smooth and set aside.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook gently, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until the onion is soft. Turn up the heat to medium, toss in the rice, and stir for 1 minute to coat the grains.
Pour in the white wine and cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid evaporates.
Now add a ladle of the simmering stock and cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid is absorbed. Continue adding the stock a ladleful at a time, stirring constantly, waiting until the liquid is absorbed between each addition. Continue until the rice is tender – this should take 20 to 30 minutes and use most of the stock (add hot water to the stock if necessary).
Stir in the pea puree, remaining peas and Parmesan cheese. Turn off the heat and let the risotto rest on the elements for a few minutes. Season with salt and pepper and give the risotto a stir. Serve immediately.