I know it sounds totally counterintuitive, but I love making risotto after work.  Yes, it’s a lot of standing and stirring, but on the other hand, it’s only standing and stirring.  Not really a whole lot of chopping involved, just the zen activity of adding a little liquid, watching it get absorbed as you gently stir, then adding a little more liquid and watching that get absorbed.

Sometimes, when you have a hectic day at work and you’re juggling 80 bajillion different projects, phone calls and e-mails, it’s nice to have something simple to do.  Stand.  Ladle.  Stir.  Repeat until done.  Ahhhhh … bliss.

And since it’s Springtime, fresh peas are plentiful – however, frozen work just as well.  I had some leftover roasted chicken in the fridge and added that to the dish, which was absolutely lovely.

Lastly, if you have issues with dairy, you don’t HAVE to add the Parmesan cheese – it gives the dish a nice bit of savouriness, but so does the chicken stock.  And, of course, it’s risotto, so it’s naturally creamy even without the cheese.  Something that you might want to try – pop an old, dry Parmesan rind into the stock as it’s simmering.  You’ll get that great Parmesan flavor without actually adding the cheese to the final dish.

Minty Pea Risotto

  • 2 Tbsp butter + same amount olive oil
  • 1 1/3 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 4 cups chicken stock, hot
  • 3 shallots, diced
  • 1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh mint, chopped, plus a little more for serving
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan plus more for serving
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat the stock in a medium pot over low heat.  In a large, wide pan, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat until melted.  Add the shallots and cook until translucent.  Add the arborio rice and stir to coat well with the butter and olive oil mixture, cooking for a minute or two.  Add the white wine and stir until absorbed, then start adding the stock, one soup ladle at a time – waiting until each one is absorbed before adding the next.  Trust me, it’ll go faster than it probably sounds.  When you get to the last couple of ladles, add your peas so that they’ll cook with the hot  stock.  When all the stock has been added, stir in the Parmesan and mint and taste for seasoning.  Top with a little extra cheese and pinch of mint.

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