Tuesday, May 7, 2013 / 17 Comments / , , ,

Spring Peas and Carrots Risotto

Before I get to the recipe... I just wanted to remind you that it's teacher and nurse appreciation week. Don't forget to thank the teachers and nurses in your life for all the good they do. 
Okay, here we go...

Risotto is one of those dishes that people complain about being long and tedious to make. Though I have made risotto many times before, I still get this notion stuck in my head. The other day I was chatting on the phone with a girlfriend who was busy with her baby and 5 year old and mentioned she was "just" making risotto for dinner since it was a busy day. She reminded me that homemade risotto really is a one-dish dinner that can be made in 30 minutes - not bad! It's easy too... it's all about stirring broth into the rice until it's nice and thick. Precise measurements aren't necessary, just keep adding that liquid! You can always use any veggies you have in your fridge, but peas and carrots are in season and a favorite kid combination. 

But just to keep things real... 
You will need to stay nearby the stove for those 30 minutes of cook time. ^My floor looked like this at the end of it. Totally worth it for homemade risotto if you ask me. 

 Did you know... peas are high in protein and when combined with rice provide a complete protein (all amino acids present).

Read more and get the recipe after the jump! 

 We have a few pea plants growing in our garden. Definitely not enough for use as a main part of a dish. Great for garden snacking though! If you shop at Trader Joe's you've surely seen the bags of fresh English peas already shelled. I used those. If you can't find them, pea-shelling is a fun activity to keep kiddos busy. 

This recipe can be the main event, or you can add shredded cooked chicken breast or salmon on top if you're a meat-eater. We like it with a poached egg on top. I like to keep arborio rice and veggie broth in the pantry for those nights I haven't planned dinner. Just stir that risotto and throw in whatever else strikes your fancy. 

Spring Peas and Carrots Risotto 
Serves 4 

4 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil 
1 shallot, chopped 
1 cup chopped carrots 
1 cup arborio rice 
1/2 cup dry white wine (I like pinot grigio for this since it's Italian :) ) 
1 cup fresh shelled peas (frozen are okay if you can't find fresh) 
sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese 

Pour broth into a saucepan and warm over low heat. 

Heat butter or oil in a large skillet or saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallot and saute until translucent. Stir in the carrots and rice for 1 minute using a wooden spoon. Add the wine and continue to stir until the liquid has cooked off. Add a ladle-full (or 1 cup) of the broth and continue to stir until it has been absorbed by the rice. Continue adding broth one cup at a time and stirring until it has been absorbed. After about 15 minutes add the peas. After about a total of 30 minutes and 3.5-4 cups of broth, the risotto will be thick and creamy. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with a generous amount of Parmesan. 

*Vegan option: Omit the Parmesan. Use a little sea salt on top or a pinch of nutritional yeast. 

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