Yesterday, the weather was hot and muggy. I spent the greater part of the afternoon outside on the patio with Mr. Tucker, engrossed in a book. Earlier in the day, I had stopped by the farm stand to pick up something for dinner. I often stop by with no plan, then let the fresh ingredients inspire something healthy and delicious. When I saw that they still had English shelling peas, I knew I had to buy some before they were gone for the season.
I took a colander and the paper bag full of peas out onto the patio with me, and sat. It was relaxing, snapping off the ends and separating the pod up the length to expose the peas hanging inside. I was taken back to childhood, where my brother and I felt special and important when our parents sent us outside to shuck the corn or shell the peas or snap the ends off of the beans.
Mr. Tucker sat and watched, obviously very interested in what I was doing. I tossed him a pea, and was surprised when he actually gobbled it up and begged for another.
While I freed the peas from their pods, I decided that I would make a risotto with peas for dinner that night. To go with the risotto, I decided on a simple salad of thick slices of heirloom tomatoes layered over baby greens and topped with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I also made a pitcher of white tea, with fresh lemon verbena and mint leaves from our herb garden. They were both the perfect pairing for the rich, lemony risotto, and it was a lovely late-Spring meal.
Risotto with Peas
3 cups stock- either vegetable or chicken
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 of a medium sweet onion, diced
1 cup Arborio rice
1 cup freshly shelled peas
zest of 1 organic lemon
2 teaspoons snipped fresh chives
salt and pepper, to taste
Place the stock into a saucepan and keep hot (but not boiling) over low heat. In a medium-sized pot, add the onion and olive oil and cook until translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Add the rice to the pot with the olive oil and onions and stir. Add 1 cup of the stock to the rice, turning heat to low and stirring slowly until the rice has absorbed the liquids. Add the liquid one cup at a time as it absorbs into the rice. Meanwhile, in a small pot of boiling water, blanch the peas for 1 minute. Drain and set aside. Once the risotto has absorbed all of the liquids, stir in the peas, chives, and lemon zest. Season as desired with salt and pepper before serving. You could also stir in a little freshly grated parmesan cheese if you wanted. Serves 3-4