I’ve been eating a lot of peas… tis the season! I wanted to add peas to rice. The two tricks to adding veggies to risotto are to 1) not add too many and 2) make sure the veggies are soft and well-cooked, so they don’t conflict with the smooth, creamy, perfect texture that is risotto. Of course, I messed up on both counts when I made this, but I’ve corrected the recipe so that I hope your dish comes out perfectly!
I thought that the peas used here would cook to soft in the dish, but they were still rather crunchy, so I’ve suggested that you blanch the peas before incorporating with the uncooked rice. I knew when I was adding my peas to the recipe that I was adding too many, but I usually love to over-veg starch dishes. Otherwise, I ende up with this classic scenario: One of our easy go-to dinners is to cook up whatever veggies are in the fridge and serve them over pasta, and I always eat the veggies off the top and leave the pasta. Of course, this means I have to eat plain pasta for lunch the next day. You probably think I’m lying here, since no one in the world prefers veggies to starch, right? Let me improve my credibility by telling you that I eat an AWFUL lot of bread. So much bread. Bread is at least 10% of the reason I married my French husband, who made bread to go with the dinner he served me for our second date, and who continues to make bread every day. Its just that plain pasta or baked potatoes don’t do it for me.
Back to the risotto. Try it and let me know. I’ll try it again, and let you know. Deal!
PS Did I tell you this is BAKED? You don’t have to stir the risotto on the stove. I know, you love standing over a hot range. Me, too! But just this once, put something in the oven and forget about it for 20 minutes.
Adapted from Joy the Baker’s Baked Lemon Risotto
which is adapted from the Weight Watchers Magazine
2 cups Arborio rice, or 1 cup each Arborio and Mixed Wild Rices
32 oz (1 box, approx 4 cups) low-sodium chicken or veggie stock
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup white wine
1 small to medium onion, chopped or sliced
1 tbs lemon zest
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1/4 – 1/2 tsp ground red chili pepper
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup English peas
salt to taste
Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a 9 x 13 inch baking dish and set aside.
Heat approx. 3 cups of water in a small sauce pan to boil. Add the peas and cook for 3-5 minutes, until soft (you might check before turning off the heat). Drain water from the peas, and set aside. If you wish to stop the cooking so that the peas retain some of their bright color, have a bowl of ice-water ready and add drained, cooked peas to the ice water.
Chop or slice onion and saute in a little oil until translucent to brown, 5-7 mins. Meanwhile, zest the lemon and chop the thyme leaves. When the onion is cooked, add the zest, thyme, and chili powder. Mix and turn off the heat.
In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the rice, cheese and drained peas. Add the onions and seasonings from the saute pan and mix.
Add the dry mixture to the baking dish, and cover with the stock, water, and wine.
Bake for 20 mins, stir once, and bake for another 20 mins. The rice should be nice and creamy, the liquid mostly absorbed but not to the point that the dish is gummy. If the rice is not fully cooked, add a bit more liquid (1/3 cup), stir, and cook for another 5-10 mins. Add salt to taste. If you’re feeling fancy, you can serve topped with a sprinkling of reserved lemon zest or thyme leaves.