Tuesday, September 2, 2008

No Ordinary Pea Risotto

The weather is positively autumn-like, which is a great thing as far as this Virgo is concerned, but somehow today peas were calling me. And there is nothing that screams SPRING as much as a pea risotto. But this one is a different breed of pea risotto my friends; this one is mantecato with mascarpone and makes for a fab early autumn treat.

You'll need:

200g of risotto rice
100g petits pois (frozen, but better if fresh, as usual)
1 tbsp mascarpone
half an onion
one egg yolk
a couple of tbsps of olive oil
1 lt vegetable stock
greated Parmesan

Serves 2 (or indeed 1 under the right circumstances)

Chop the onion in really small pieces (use a mezzaluna if available) and drop into a heavy-based saucepan on high heat with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Let it sizzle, stir away and watch it until it starts going gold. At this stage, add the peas and the dry rice and stir well and quickly. Now begin to add the vegetable stock. Continue to stir until the rice will have absorbed the stock, by which stage you will add some more.

You may wish to lower to heat to high medium at this stage, but know your rice before you do this. Some risotto rice (canaroli or arborio) softens really quickly (no good unfortunately) and having too much stock on a too low heath will give you a watery mess that is not risotto at all. So bear this in mind as you work. Continue to add the stock as soon as the rice has absorbed it until you have some liquid left in the pan.

Now crack your egg, get the egg yolk in a small bowl and beat in the mascarpone. Add a couple of tablespoons of Parmesan and then drop into the pan of risotto (this is the mantecatura, no English equivalent for this word). Stir well in order to incorporate and serve immediately, not forgetting generous Parmesan on top.
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