This I cobbled together from three recipes found in SIMPLY ORGANIC, BAREFOOT CONTESSA: BACK TO BASICS, and LOCAL FLAVORS. Our peas were at the end of their line and needed to be eaten, but still had a few shoots at the ends, so I wanted to use both of those. (You can sub frozen peas for the fresh, but it is awfully fun for kids to shuck peas. Spinach can be subbed for the pea shoots, but they are fun new thing to try.) Then I still had a few heads of sweet spring onions and green garlic from last week’s Farmers Market trip, and I have been hankering for Risotto – another one of those dishes, like soufflé, that can be intimidating. It does require that you prep everything in advance, and then just stir. But as Ina Garten says, that can be really theraputic.
Other spring veggies, like asparagus and mushrooms also work well, with lemon juice and zest to balance. Also, try other fresh herbs – though the peas and mint do work well together. This can be a great vegetarian main, with a salad, or as a hearty side.
2 – 4 spring onions (or leeks), quartered lengthwise and sliced
3 heads green garlic (or 5 – 6 cloves) minced
4 Tablespoons butter, divided
1 bunch pea shoots, large stems removed, very roughly chopped
½ cup white wine
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth (if you don’t use low salt, don’t add much salt to the rest of the dish)
1 ½ cups fresh or frozen (thawed) peas
1 cup Arborio rice
3 – 5 oz. goat cheese (OR marscapone, or cream)
¼ cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh mint, chopped (or lemon zest)
Melt 2 Tablespoons butter in large sauté pan. Add the onions and garlic and stir to coat. Add wine and cook over medium-low heat until tender, about 10 minutes. Add pea shoots and sauté for a couple of minutes, until wilted. Remove from heat and set aside.
Bring stock to a boil and then keep simmering on the stove. If using fresh peas, blanch them for a few minutes until they are done enough for you. (This removes a bit of the starch as well.) Set aside.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a dutch oven or wide soup pot. Add rice and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until golden brown, stirring constantly. Begin adding stock, about ½ cup at a time, keeping it cooking at an active simmer and stirring continually until stock is absorbed. Continue adding stock in this fashion, until rice is cooked to al dente. Should take 20 – 30 minutes.
Stir in peas and onion mixture, stirring until all liquid is absorbed.
Remove from heat and add cheeses and herbs and salt and pepper to taste, folding them in until evenly distributed. Serve immediately.