Aromatic herbs give this good basic risotto recipe a lift. For a tasty variation, try adding boiled zucchinis with a teaspoon of chilli flakes. Chilli also goes well with the peas.
300g frozen peas
1 1/2 litres chicken stock*
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra
1/2 small red onion
1 clove garlic, crushed
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
325g arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tbsp parmesan, grated, plus
extra to serve
2 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 tbsp mint, chopped, plus extra whole leaves to garnish
150g fresh ricotta
* check stock is gluten-free if required
Cook the peas in plenty of boiling salted water then remove as soon as they rise to the surface. Refresh the peas in iced water and set aside.
Heat chicken stock over medium heat in a pot. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and a little salt. Place a lid on the pan and let the ingredients sweat over low heat until soft.
Add the rice to the pan and cook, stirring constantly. After about 3 minutes the starch coming out of the rice will thicken the viscosity of the stock.
Add the wine and simmer, stirring constantly, until the wine is completely absorbed. Add enough stock to cover the rice and simmer, stirring occasionally.
As the stock is absorbed, add more to the rice to keep it moist, but not enough to drown it. It is important to continue stirring at this early stage or the rice will sink to the bottom and stick. After 15-18 minutes most of the stock should be used and the rice tender.
Add the peas, along with the cheese, butter, and any remaining stock. Cover, remove from the heat and rest for 2 minutes. Remove the lid, stir in the chopped mint and check seasoning.
To serve, place a dollop of ricotta in each bowl, drizzle with olive oil, give a good grind of grated pepper, and sprinkle with mint leaves and extra parmesan.