I make a lot of risotto. I always have arborio rice in the pantry, I always have some sort of chicken stock or vegetable stock. I always have some dry cheese, onions, garlic and such on hand. I love that you can put just about any combination of meats, vegetables, and herbs in a risotto and it will be amazing. It really is one of the only foods you can’t shortcut. You can’t microwave it, you can’t leave it in a crock pot, you cant walk away. You have to be right there, stirring, adding liquid, and waiting.
So, I thought I would do a year of monthly risotto recipes. I will do some seasonal favorites, and some new ones I have never done before. Since the mint in the garden was going gangbusters, I chose this one. I hope to perfect my dishes and stretch my self. I’m no barefoot contessa. I’m not trying to be on Master Chef. I just really like risotto.
- 12 oz arborrio rice
- 1 qt chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 cups frozen peas
- 2 dozen fresh mint leaves, chiffonade
- 1 small sweet onion, diced small
- tbsp minced garlic
- zest and juice of one large lemon, meyer for preference
- salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese to taste
- a knob of butter or a few tablespoons of olive oil
- 4 oz dry white wine
- Optional: poached or fried eggs to serve on top
Because you have to babysit a risotto, prep everything first. To prevent risotto from becoming gummy or pasty, it must be stirred basically from start to finish. Have your broth heated ahead of time, your lemon zested and your mint chopped. You can do it while the rice cooks, but don’t.
Cooking the risotto:
Begin by sautéing the onion and garlic in the butter. Take a deep whiff. YUM. Why don’t they make Yankee candles that smell like that? Maybe because people would eat them.
Anyways, when the onions are tender, we add the dry rice and incorporate it into the butter. Some people put olive oil in at this part. I don’t cook olive oil. So butter it is!
When the rice is glossy we add the wine. Stir until absorbed.
Then we begin the process of adding 4-8 ounces of broth at a time…
then stirring until the liquid has fattened the little grains….. and adding another couple of ounces….
Until we are on that very last 4 ounces of broth…. Once that is dumped in, it is time to add the zest, lemon juice, peas and mint. With greens like spinach or arugula or in this case, mint, add in the last few minutes of cooking, just to wilt.
Now, I feel like my family needs a little protein, so I added an over (very) easy egg to top it off. You could just as easily do poached, but I’m not great at poaching, and I don’t like the cleanup. The dish really comes together with the egg, but if you are vegan you may omit and it will still be awesome. I wouldn’t recommend adding chicken or pork to this risotto, however. The acidic and mint flavors might be good with seafood, but I don’t think it needs it. Season as you like it, and allow it to sit and sort of….converge the flavors, off of the heat. Meanwhile, make your eggs.
Serve with a nice white wine or a delicate pilsner.