A popular seasonal Venetian dish
This recipe has become a speciality of Venice because of the wonderful soil of the Veneto where peas grow in abundance. In the pea season, there is often such a glut that the vendors don’t bother to weigh them out but just pour the pods freely into your bag, so you can enjoy them at their very finest and sweetest. They should be eaten as freshly as possible because, when plucked from the plant, their sugars rapidly convert to starch.
1kg sweet fresh pea pods, young and tender
6 shallots, peeled and finely sliced
2 garlic gloves, peeled and finely chopped
55g unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil
A handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 litre hot, homemade vegetable stock
250g risotto rice (vialone nano)
125ml dry white wine
A handful of fresh mint, chopped
55g parmesan, freshly grated
Shell and rinse the peas. Fry the shallots and garlic in the butter and oil until lightly coloured, then stir in the parsley, peas and just enough hot stock to barely cover the ingredients. Simmer gently for 2 mins.
Add the rice, wine and some pepper, and stir to coat the rice with this mixture, using a wooden spoon. Now add the rest of the stock ladleful by ladleful, stirring well between each addition, until all the stock has been absorbed and the rice is creamy. This should take 18-20 mins.
Stir in some salt, then the mint and parmesan.
Cover for 1 min to allow the rice to rest, then serve on to warmed plates with extra grated parmesan if desired.
Recipe: Ursula Ferrigno