Tuesday 15 July 2014

Jamie Oliver's Pea and Herb Risotto from Jamie Does.

Jamie Oliver's Pea and Herb Risotto from Jamie Does was on the menu for tonights dinner for two.

I always get such a satisfyingly domestic feeling when making risotto, maybe its because it needs constant caring and attention. Its a dish when you feel like pottering about in the kitchen but not slaving away. A labour of love...

It starts by browning the finely chopped onions in olive oil till translucent then adding the short stumpy rice grains and toasting them in the onion and olive oil mixture until you hear little crackles and they start to go as translucent as the onions. The sizzle and steam of the pan deglazing when you pour in your cup of wine, starting the little gems on their delicious journey to absorbing what ever home made stock you feed them ladle by ladle. Stirring frequently and giving it your undivided attention until the grains plump up and are ever so slightly al dente. Most importantly making sure it gets the rest it deserves by adding a knob of butter and a handful of freshly grated parmesan cheese and placing the lid on so everything rests and comes together. When you lift the lid and get a facial full of fragrant steam all your hard work has paid off.

Sounds romantic doesn't it?

The Risotto Bianco starts somewhat like that and to get the Pea and Herb variation you simmer frozen peas in butter, chopped fresh parsley, chopped fresh mint with a splash of hot water for a couple of minutes. Add everything to the risotto (of course adding more butter) just before closing the lid for its rest time.

Before serving, stir some crumbled goats cheese and parmesan through it so it starts to melt. I served a large bowl each with a simple rocket salad dressed in olive oil and lemon juice.


Jamie Oliver's Pea and Herb Risotto from Jamie Does.

...I do have to admit a few things though... there was no wine in our house (we drunk it on the weekend) so I used dry vermouth instead. I'd read a Nigella Lawson risotto recipe a while ago and she uses vermouth instead of opening a bottle of wine some of the time so I thought that was an easy substitute and I used stock powder... I had planned on buying some good quality stock during shopping but I blame the mince saga and was off my game. Even with my substitutes the rice still had a pleasant bite, the peas weren't over cooked and still popped in your mouth like flavour pockets, the goats cheese had started to melt and you got salty chunks every now and then and the mint and parsley livened up the dish making me think of Spring and not being in the mid of winter wearing a thousand layers with the heating on.

The only comment I had is that it needed meat (although he thinks everything veggie needs meat)...I thought it was delicious and perfect as it was.

Jamie Oliver's Pea and Herb Risotto from Jamie Does.

Jamie Oliver's Pea and Herb Risotto from Jamie Does.
Serves 4
(Recipe adapted)

1 litre of vegetable stock
1 tbs olive oil
1 brown onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
300g risotto rice
125mL White wine (or vermouth)
a couple of knobs of butter
a small handful of parmesan cheese
300g frozen peas
handful of fresh mint, chopped
handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped
100g goats cheese, crumbled leaving some bits in chunks

- Saute the onion, garlic and olive oil until onion is translucent but not coloured then add the rice. Cook the rice until it is covered in the oil and onion juice and starts to crackle. You want to almost toast the rice grains.

- Add the wine (or vermouth) and stir. Simmer until there is no liquid left then start adding your stock a ladle at a time stirring each addition and making sure the rice has soaked up the previous ladle of stock before adding more. This will give you a silky, creamy risotto.

- When you have added about three quarters of your stock to the rice, start on the herby peas.

- For the herby peas: Melt some butter in a small saucepan and add the peas and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the herbs and a splash of hot water and cook for another couple of minutes.

- Once you have added all the stock to the rice, taste the rice to see if is properly cooked, It should have a slight bite and still look saucy. Add the peas to the rice mixture and stir through. Finally add the knobs of butter and parmesan, turn the heat off, put a lid on it and let it all come together.

- Before serving, stir through the crumbles goats cheese and top with some freshly cracked pepper. Then dig in and enjoy!

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