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Article by Sarah Hamilton-Walker | 9th November 2018

Recipe: Peas on Earth

Fresh, sweet peas combined with the luxurious fat grain of the rice makes for an exceptional spring dish, with just enough heartiness if the weather isn’t yet that warm.

Spring Pea Risotto

Serves 4-6

You’ll need

For the pea stock (makes 600ml)

• 350g fresh pea pods, shelled (use the shells for the stock and the peas for the puree and vegetables)
• 350ml iced water

For the pea puree

• 100g fresh peas (shelled weight)
• 10g unsalted butter
• Pinch of salt

For the risotto

• ½ white onion, peeled and diced
• 30g unsalted butter
• 1 small clove garlic, peeled and finely grated
• 200g Carnaroli rice
• 100ml white wine, plus extra to finish (optional)
• 40g freshly grated Parmesan

For the vegetables

• 5g unsalted butter
• 120g baby courgettes, cut into 2mm slices
• 140g fresh peas (podded weight)
• 40g French breakfast radish, sliced
• 40g radish tops
• 40g baby leaf spinach

To finish

• Generous squeeze of lemon juice
• 50ml extra virgin olive
• 15g pea shoots, blanched in boiling water for 5 seconds
• Handful fresh Parmesan shavings

1. For the pea stock, blanch the pea pod shells for 1 minute in simmering water, remove from the pan and refresh in the iced water. Once cooled, blitz the iced water and pods in a food processor until smooth. Strain through a fine sieve. Set aside 100ml to make the pea puree and the remaining 500ml to make the risotto.
2. For the pea puree, sweat the peas in the butter in a small saucepan for 5 minutes, adding a pinch of salt. Add the 100ml reserved pea stock, bring to a boil and simmer for 4 minutes then transfer to a food processor and blend until smooth. Leave to cool.
3. For the risotto, sweat the onion in the olive oil with a pinch of salt on a low heat for 2 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic. Stir in the rice and continue to cook on a low heat for 3 minutes. Pour in the wine then the reserved pea stock, stir and bring to the gentlest simmer. Season then cover with a lid and cook for 20 minutes. Check every now and again that it is not boiling.
4. After 20 minutes, pick up a grain of rice. You will see a tiny speck of white starch in the middle – this means the risotto is nearly cooked. Now you need to stir hard and fast for 5 minutes. Stir in 200ml of the cooled pea puree and then the Parmesan. Taste, correct the seasoning and set aside.
5. For the vegetables, bring the butter, 50ml of water and a pinch of salt to the boil in a small saucepan over a high heat. Add the courgettes, cover with a lid and cook on a high heat for 30 seconds, then add the peas, radishes, radish tops and spinach, cover again and continue for 20 seconds.
6. To finish the risotto, stir in the lemon juice, olive oil and maybe a dash of white wine to sharpen the flavour. Taste and adjust the seasoning then serve topped with the vegetables, blanched pea shoots and a few shavings of Parmesan.

• Chef Raymond Blanc has been working with WWF to raise awareness of Earth Hour on 24th March. WWF would like to encourage more people to consider the impact of their diet on the planet – the average UK household wastes approximately 30% of the food it buys – that’s like taking £100 out of the bank and putting £30 straight into the bin! For more information, visit www.wwf.org.uk/earthhour 

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