There’s nothing more delicious than a vegan risotto made with garden fresh peas and herbs. My wee herb parterre is filled with many types of herbs and the fresh peas are so sweet, so with a few minutes you can eat a risotto for dinner that is not only filling, but a healthy combination of protein, vitamins and carbohydrates. Maybe your family will repeat what my hubby said after a test bite. Sorry, all this is mine; such a declaration is joy to my ears.
There are tricks to cooking risotto. Tostatura is the process of coating the rice in oil and gently heating it. Start with sauté onion in a little olive oil. Add the Arborio rice for a minute on a gentle heat, so the rice becomes shiny, coats the rice and seals the grain. Deglaze with a little white wine to stop the tostatura and deglaze. To keep a nice loose texture in risotto, cook it in enough stock and keep stirring to a minimum. The rice needs to cook, so you need a fair amount of stock, especially to start with, to cover it. When you over stir, the rice releases starch, which makes the risotto gluggy. Serve risotto al dente; you’ll know it is ready when you can press a grain between your fingers and the white germ in the middle breaks. If the germ is hard, the risotto isn’t cooked. When the risotto is cooked add a little stock to keep it loose. Remove it from the heat, add the vegetable and let sit for 5 minutes.
· Green peas are one of the most nutritious leguminous vegetables rich in health promoting phytonutrients, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants.
· Fresh, tender peas are relatively low in calories in comparison to beans. 100 g of green peas carry just 81 calories and no cholesterol. They are good sources of protein, vitamins, and soluble as well as insoluble fibre.
GARDEN PEA RISOTTO W FRESH HERBS
Makes 2 servings
1 onion, diced
1 cup Arborio rice
¼ cup dry white wine
3½-4 cups vegetable stock
¾ cup garden peas, may use frozen
4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 heaped tablespoon fresh thyme
1 handful fresh parsley, chopped
Himalayan salt and black pepper
Heat vegetable stock in a small saucepan. In a large saucepan, sauté the onion in olive oil on medium heat until translucent. Add Arborio rice and cook on a gentle heat for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Add white wine and wait for it to evaporate. Ladle 1 cup of vegetable stock into mixture, stirring very little until stock is absorbed. The liquid should always slightly simmer as you want the risotto to cook, not boil which will turn the mixture into a gummy mess. Continue to add the vegetable stock, stir very little as it absorbs, until the rice is ‘al dente’ (cooked through with a slight bite). The cooking process should take 12-15 minutes. Turn off the stove, add the peas and a little stock and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir in most of the herbs, nutritional yeast and season with salt and black pepper. Serve in bowls, sprinkling with extra herbs and edible flowers if serving on a special occasion.