Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Pea Risotto

I fully realize the idiocy of embarking on this project right in the middle of the exam period. It’s not that I’m on an incredibly tight schedule with these recipes. I could easily take a couple of days off, and still be on track. Theoretically, I should be able to fit in my cooking around all the study that I have to do. The problem, though, is that now I have an excuse not to study. With the cooking, and the blogging, I’ve just opened up another, enormous outlet for procrastination.

With that in mind, here is what I had for lunch today.

14. Pea Risotto

This risotto serves 2, and is, appropriately enough, from the One & Two chapter, even though the quantities “might be nearer those ordinarily specified for four”. I halved the recipe for myself, with no side dish and no dessert.

It's pretty straightforward, you just cook some peas in butter, and puree half of them with butter, parmesan and nutmeg. Then you cook the rice in the ordinary way, adding the whole peas halfway through and the pea puree at the end.

I used a Living Kitchen 1 Litre measuring jug, which I got for my birthday this year, to pour the stock in. Love it.

Risotto + Living Kitchen 1L Jug

The thing about risotto, when I cook it at least, is that it always takes much longer than the recipe says, and I almost always need to add extra water from the kettle. I think Nigella was being optimistic when said about 20 minutes, because it took me 45, even with halved quantities. This happens even when I keep the stock at simmering point on a nearby hob, as I usually do, so I don’t think it’s because of the temperature of the stock. Hmm…

And here it is, in all its green, fresh, Springtime glory.

Pea Risotto

It was fantastic. I found it to be great comforting food for a solo meal in front of the TV, but it wouldn't be out of place at a casual lunch party, a formal dinner party, an intimite supper, anything. I think it would make delicious arancini, but don't count on having leftovers. It was stodgy enough to fuel my exam-time need for more carbs, but thanks to the peas and parsley, light and fresh enough not to weigh me down intolerably with guilt and bloating. About parsley, Nigella says, “the lack of it won’t give you any grief”, but it adds a really nice touch, counterbalancing the heaviness of the rice, and enhancing the green freshness of the peas.

I think, though, that the taste depends a lot on the type of stock you use. I used a Massel Vegetarian Chicken Style stock cube, which I like, but it would probably taste even better with homemade stock. (By the way, homemade stock is on my list of things to make, so we’ll definitely be seeing a repeat of this recipe sometime soon... and yes, I might even share it around next time!)

You know what, I think I’m eating a lot better than my fellow students stuck in study mode who buy from Union house – sandwiches, sushi, soup, focaccias, kebabs, wraps, 2-day old brownies & cookies etc. Well, the sushi’s pretty good actually, but the focaccias and wraps? ICK!

Phew! With that done, I can get back to revising the crisis of cheap labour in South-East Asian economies! But wait, I think I'll make myself a coffee first...


Maria said...

Hiya Sarah - I have made this risotto many times when alone - it is so great!
Good luck on your exams, can't wait to read more about your HTE experiences in the future :-)

Ilana said...

Sarah, I made this tonight and you were so right, this was fabulous!!! But I goofed in not reading the directions carefully, and I think you may have to, though I don't think it would have made that much difference. The peas that are supposed to be pureed are the ones that were cooked in the ladle of stock, not the ones just first cooked in butter. Like you, I pureed the non-stock sauteed peas and added the 'stock sauteed' peas halfway through. I think I let hunger take over when reading those instructions.. hehehe.