Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Spring Pea Risotto with Pancetta and Lemon

Next to fresh fava beans, peas are a cinch. Shell a few handfuls for this light and flavorful risotto that pairs them with pancetta and a hint of lemon for a perfect complement to a warm, summery evening.

26 oz chicken and/or veggie broth
Pinch or two saffron threads, crumbled
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic: 2 chopped, 1 lightly smashed
2-2.5 oz pancetta, sliced into short strips or cubes
(or sub good-quality, thick-cut bacon)
1 rounded cup Arborio rice
1 cup fresh shelled green peas
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 handfuls baby spinach or baby arugula, coarsely chopped
Zest of one Meyer lemon
3 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley, plus a little extra for garnish
1/2-2/3 cups grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat broth and smashed garlic clove in a covered pot until it simmers. Add the saffron, stir once, cover, and turn off the heat.

Heat a large pot over medium heat. When hot, turn the heat down just a bit and add the pancetta. Cook, stirring occasionally, until some of the pieces begin to show a lightly golden sheen. Remove the pieces from the pan with a slotted spatula and place to the side on a plate lined with a paper towel. Remove some of the bacon grease from the pot, but leave about a tablespoon to cook with.

Add a glug of olive oil to the pot and let heat for a moment. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and saute, stirring, until translucent, then add the garlic and saute about 2 minutes more. Reduce the heat to halfway between medium and medium-low.

Stir in the rice and saute in the onion-garlic mixture for a minute or two longer, then add the white wine and continue to saute, stirring, until liquid is absorbed. Add half the pancetta back into the pot, and save the rest for later.

Begin adding broth by the ladleful, stirring the rice regularly until the liquid is absorbed and then adding more. Adjust the heat up or down as needed—you want the liquid to come to a gentle simmer when you stop stirring for a few seconds.

When there is about a cup of broth left, add the peas to the risotto and cook, stirring and adding broth when the rice dries out, as before. When there is one ladleful of broth left, add the chopped greens, 1/2 of the lemon zest, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine, then add the last ladleful of broth and the cheese, and turn off the heat.

Let sit 3-5 minutes for flavors to blend, then adjust lemon zest, salt, and pepper to taste. Serve into preheated soup plates, and garnish with chopped parsley.

 Serves 2-3.

No comments:

Post a Comment