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***RECIPE, SERVES 4-6***
2 cups (450g) risotto rice
12 oz (350g) shelled fresh peas, pods reserved if possible (you can use frozen, but put them in unthawed when the rice is almost done)
1 white onion
about 5 oz (140g) spinach (only if your peas didn’t come with pods)
white wine (highly optional)
butter (replace with vegan sour cream if you don’t do dairy)
parmesan cheese (ditto)
pepper (some people prefer white pepper for this, for color)
1 bunch parsley leaves
a few mint leaves
Dice the onion finely. If you have the pods from your peas, combine them with about half of the onion in a pot with about 2 quarts (2 liters) of water and two big pinches of salt and boil for 20-30 minutes. If you don’t have the pods, just boil half of the onion in the same amount of water and salt until it’s softened a bit, throw in the spinach and boil for another couple minutes until wilted. Regardless of which broth you made, take it off the heat, puree it with some kind of blender, strain and discard the solids.
Heat a film of oil or butter in a big pan and throw in the other half of diced onion. Cook gently for a few minutes to soften the onion without browning it. If you’re using arborio rice (or another relatively long-cooking risotto rice), stir it in now, then stir in just enough white wine to cover (or your vegetable broth if you’re skipping the wine), cook for a few minutes, then stir in the fresh peas. If you’re using the traditional vialone nano rice, it cooks a little faster, so you’d want to put the fresh peas in first with the wine/broth, cook them for a few minutes, then stir in the rice.
Simmer, stirring frequently, and keeping it topped off with just enough broth to cover. If you run out of broth, you can just switch to water. The rice should take 15-20 minutes, depending on the type.
While you wait, chop the parsley and mint leaves finely and grind them up with a little salt — you can use a food processor, mortar and pestle, or just the side of your knife. Mix with enough olive oil to make a thick sauce.
When the rice tastes almost done but still a hair crunchy, turn off the heat. Melt in as much butter and cheese (or vegan sour cream) as you want to make it creamy. If necessary, add in more broth/water/wine to get a texture between a thick risotto and a soup. Taste for seasoning, add salt if necessary along with pepper (and sometimes people do nutmeg?).
Scoop into bowls, drizzle on some of the herb oil and swirl it in right before you eat.