Saturday, May 12, 2012

Peas & Carrots Risotto

Let’s talk risotto!  People seem to be a little intimated by risotto, but it really is quite simple.  The key to risotto is stirring frequently during the cooking process which gives the dish its delightfully creamy texture.  It certainly does not need to be constantly stirred but it does need frequent stirring.  Arborio is typically used in risotto because it goes through less milling, which allows it to hold onto more of its natural starches.  The frequent stirring causes friction between the grains and this releases those starches.  Also since liquid is being added a little bit at a time at fairly high heat, a nonstick skillet is helpful to prevent any sticking.  I am sharing with you one of our family-favorite risottos:  Peas & Carrots Risotto.

Peas & Carrots Risotto

4 cups chicken stock
2 T olive oil
½ onion, small diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, small diced
1 ½ C Arborio rice
Salt & Pepper, to taste
½ C white wine
2 T butter
½ C Parmesan Cheese
1 C frozen peas

Warm the chicken stock in a pan over medium heat.  You just want to keep the stock warm but you don’t want it boiling so that it doesn’t all vaporize away. 

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium to medium-high.  Add the onion and carrots and cook until onion starts to turn translucent.  At this point, add the garlic and rice.  Stir it around to get well-coated by the oil and season with salt and pepper.  Add the white wine and stir letting the wine just bubble away. 

At this point you can start adding the warm stock, one ladle at a time, stirring frequently.  When the stock is just about evaporated, add another ladle.  Keep on with this rotation and start tasting about 20 minutes into cooking, but it could take up to 30 minutes. 

Keep in mind you want a bite to the rice so it will taste a little firmer than regular steamed rice.  It should have a creamy texture to it…not soupy but not dry either.  When it’s all ready, turn off the heat and add the butter, cheese, and peas.  Mix until well incorporated. 

Voila…Peas & Carrots Risotto! 

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