It’s here. The night I’ve been waiting patiently for. The night that I’ve been imagining over and over again in my head for weeks has finally arrived.
Tonight, I’m making Raymond Blanc’s pea risotto as featured on Kew on a Plate. Since watching the series I’ve been dreaming up ways to use my freshly picked allotment produce to their fullest potential. The risotto dish from the “Spring” episode really caught my attention, mainly because all of the vegetable was used in the dish, nothing went to waste, and if you’re growing your own vegetables you want to eat and enjoy as much of the vegetable as possible.
The peas at the allotment are finally ready for picking so just before tea time, I headed along to collect as many pods as I could so that I could make the risotto with the freshest peas possible.
The process of making the risotto starts with the shelling of the peas, unsurprisingly there weren’t a lot of offers for help with that job!
The pods are then blanched for about a minute then plunged into really cold water. The pods and the water are then blitzed in a food processor to make the greenest pea stock you can ever imagine, and it’s this which is used to cook the rice in.
A small portion of the peas are then sautéed in a dash of the pea stock to make a pea purée. The purée on its own is absolutely delicious. The taste is so fresh I could’ve easily just sprinkled some chopped mint on the top and eaten it with warm pitta bread! But no, risotto was calling and I had a recipe to follow.
Back on track I started cooking the rice in the pea stock. It’s cooked slightly differently to the traditional method of risotto cooking. Usually you add the stock to the rice a spoonful at a time stirring until the liquid has been absorbed, but this method called for all the stock being added at once and then cooked gently until the liquid had been absorbed. Only the last 5 minutes are spent stirring the rice, which will bring a lovely creamy consistency to the food.
The purée is added along with a good handful of fresh Parmesan cheese. Only at the last moment are the peas cooked, making sure that they keep their texture and sweetness and above all else, their freshness.
Needless to say, it was well worth the wait.