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Mill Creek Green Pea Risotto

This dish is a vegetarian adaptation of the classic Northern Italian dish risi e bisi – or rice and peas. In this version, the taste of fresh, sweet peas just pops in your mouth! Deliciously combined with creamy Arborio rice, the flavourful textures of the delicate peas and pea sprouts evoke all that is best about spring and summer. The earthy aroma of white truffle oil and the sharpness of the sheep’s milk Pecorino cheese sing together in harmony in a way that your guests will appreciate.  

Yield: 6 portions

shaved pecorino cheese, white truffle oil, green pea sprouts

For the risotto:

  • 1 cup fresh peas
  • 8 cups vegetable stock, as needed
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons minced shallot
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 2/3 cup freshly shaved Pecorino-Romano cheese
  • (use a vegetable peeler or mandoline)
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh chives
  • TT sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 

Method

  1. Put the vegetable stock in a saucepan and bring it to a simmer.
  2. Add the 3 tablespoons of olive oil to a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and sauté for a few minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute. Add the rice and stir until the grains of rice are coated with oil.
  3. Add the white wine and simmer, stirring, until most of the wine is absorbed.
  4. Start adding the simmering vegetable stock, about 1 cup at a time, adding more vegetable stock only once the rice has absorbed almost all of the stock already in the pan. Keep stirring the risotto frequently. Continue adding the stock in smaller amounts as the rice comes closer to being cooked. You may not need all of the stock.
  5. After 20 to 25 minutes of this process, the rice should be cooked to the al dente stage. Taste a piece of rice to see if the grains are tender and edible with just a little bit of a bite in the center.
  6. When the rice is cooked al dente, remove the risotto from the heat and stir in the 3 tablespoons butter and half of the Pecorino cheese.
  7. Add a little more of the simmering stock, about a half cup, to loosen the risotto and make it creamy in consistency. Add the fresh chives, the whole peas, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

For the pea purée:

  • 1 cup fresh green peas
  • 2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup vegetable stock
  • TT sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 

Method

  1. Bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil and set up a bowl of ice water. Add the peas to the saucepan and cook until tender, about one minute.
  2. Drain the peas and immediately cool them in the ice water. Drain the peas again. Purée the peas in a blender with the vegetable stock and butter until very smooth.
  3. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper

Assembly and Plating:

  1. Warm the pea purée gently and then spoon some into the bottom of each plate and swirl to the edges to leave room in the middle for the rice.
  2. Add a generous spoonful (or two) of risotto into the centre of each plate.
  3. Garnish with the pea sprouts and Pecorino shavings
  4. Drizzle a small amount of white truffle oil over each dish (just for aroma and a subtle flavor – take care not to add too much as truffle oil is potent!)

Bon appétit!

— NAC Executive Chef John Morris


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