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Sweet Pea Risotto

August 11, 2010

Sweet Pea Risotto

Just as I promised–the first recipe! You will probably see many of these, because we both love to cook and bake. Tonight’s adventure was Elena only–John was studying for his last final of Trimester 3, so dinner plans were left to me alone! I am the meal planner between the two of us, and one of the recipes I had picked out for this week was Sweet Pea Risotto, from the cookbook “Food to Live By”.  Here’s the recipe (altered ever so slightly):

  • 4 1/2 cups blond chicken stock
  • 3 cups peas (I used frozen)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large leek, rinsed and sliced
  • 1 large fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 ounces prosciutto, sliced into squares or strips
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper
  1. Pour 1 1/4 cups chicken stock into saucepan and bring to boil. Add the peas and cook until done. Set aside half the peas. Puree the remaining peas with the chicken stock and set the pea puree aside as well.
  2. Pour the remaining 3 cups of chicken stock into a saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Toss in the leeks and fennel and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the rice, stir to coat the grains with the olive oil and cook until the rice is hot to the touch, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook until it is absorbed by the rice.
  4. Add 1/2 cup of the simmering stock and cook until it is abosrobed. Cook the rice, continuing to add stock 1/2 cup at a time as it is absorbed until the rice is cooked through, about 20-30 minutes.
  5. Add the whole peas, pee puree, and proscuitto to the risotto. Cook, stirring constantly, until heated through.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste, then serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

I have to admit I was a bit nervous for this one for a couple of reasons. 1. I’ve never made risotto 2. I’ve never used fennel and 3. I’ve never used prosciutto (though I have eaten it before, and YUM!) Regardless, I had committed to telling you all about it whether or not it was a phenomenal success, a raging failure, or somewhere in between.  So I am proud to report–it turned out brilliantly!!

I was wary when I started slicing the fennel, because it smelled strongly like licorice, which I detest. I was about to omit it from the recipe and toss it but John came along and shamed me into using it (because we bought it, and because we should try new things, etc.)   Luckily, once it cooked with everything else, the licorice flavor cooked out of it.

The ultimate seal of approval was when John tasted it. “YUM!  This is soooo good!” were his exact words. He went back for seconds and then started eating it out of the pan, so I knew it was a winner! I liked it a lot as well and would definitely make it again. It is a meal that uses a lot of dishes, and at one point I had three pans on the stove at once, but keep in mind that it is a one-recipe dinner since it includes grains, vegetables, and meat. It would also be very easy to add variations, such as adding carrots, broccoli, or a different type of meat. Give it a try and let me know!  

Cooking the rice--I was getting hungry at this point!

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