15 June 2011

fresh sugar snap pea risotto

I seriously missed going to the Farmers' Market. I've been hemming and hawing, talking about it, pussyfooting, being cheap, sleeping in, just making excuses... and then I finally just decided to go because it makes me happy. My husband and I used to go all the time, but we got out of the habit last year somehow.  I stocked up on rhubarb, mint, and sugar snap peas. I also got some seedlings of lavender and beets. I tried lavender from seed, but nothing germinated. These little guys are already acclimated to our herb box in the garden. The rhubarb has already been incorporated into a strawberry rhubarb crisp (we have a glut of strawberries because they're so cheap right now -- can it be fruit season all the time??), and the mint has been combined with sugar and water for mint syrup. I'm anticipating hot days that require freshly made minty lemonade. 

One of my favorite market items has to be the fresh sugar snap peas. They're almost minty, but super crisp and sweet. I like them straight out of the box. A day or two before I went to the market, I asked my husband to pick a recipe from the Cooking from the Farmers' Market Cookbook, a beautiful cookbook that I wish we would use more often. He chose this risotto, and it was a mighty fine choice, and a great way to showcase the sugar snap peas. Warning: if you've never made a risotto before, you are in for a treat! Just to let you know though, it involves a lot, A LOT of stirring. But it is worth it for the creamy texture, I promise!

Sugar Snap Pea Risotto

3 T. unsalted butter
1 small yellow onion, finely diced (we used two giant shallots + one tiny white onion)
5 c. broth
1 1/2 c. arborio rice
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 c. dry white wine
10 oz. sugar snap peas, halved crosswise
1/3 c. freshly grated parm

Melt 2 T. butter in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. 
Add the onion and a pinch of salt and saute until the onion is soft, 5-8 minutes.
Meanwhile bring the broth and 1 t. salt to a simmer over low heat in a saucepan.
Stir the rice into the onions until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the lemon and wine and cook, stirring, until the wine is absorbed. Add 3/4 c. of broth and simmer, stirring frequently, until the liquid is almost absorbed. Add another portion of the broth. Continue simmering, stirring and adding broth until the liquid is almost all absorbed, about 15 minutes. Do not let the rice dry out! Add the snap peas and continue to cook until the rice is tender but still lightly firm to the bite, about 10 minutes longer. Turn off the heat, stir in the remaining 1 T. butter and the 1/3 c. of parmesan cheese, and let stand for 2 minutes.

Divide among shallow bowls, season with salt, sprinkle with cheese, and serve (probably with the rest of that bottle of wine you've opened, eh?).

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