March 2, 2009

Risotto with Peas, Marjoram, and Asiago

Martha Stewart Living Annual Recipes 2003

We are on a bit of a risotto kick lately, and this one did not disappoint us. This version is fairly similar to another one I made recently, the main differences being that this one does not have bacon and it features fresh marjoram, which I hardly ever use. You definitely notice the Asiago more than the marjoram in each bite, but the marjoram had a nice earthy smell and a subtle, balanced flavor that I was glad was there.

6 - 8 C low-sodium chicken broth
3 T extra-virgin olive oil
2 shallots, minced
1 C Arborio rice
1/2 C dry white wine
1 1/2 C peas, frozen or fresh and shelled
3 T unsalted butter
1 C freshly grated Asiago or Parmesan cheese (about 4 oz.)
1 T coarsely chopped fresh marjoram leaves
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Bring chicken broth to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat; reduce heat and keep at a low simmer.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat (our round Le Creuset was perfect). Add shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add rice; cook stirring frequently, until it is thoroughly coated and slightly fragrant, 3 - 4 minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring constantly, until completely absorbed.

Using a ladle, add about 3/4 C hot broth to rice mixture; stir constantly with a wooden spoon until mixture is thick enough to leave a clear wake behind the spoon.

Continue add stock about 3/4 C at a time, stirring constantly, a total of 18 - 20 minutes; after 12 minutes of cooking, stir in peas. As rice nears doneness, watch carefully to make sure it doesn't overcook, and add smaller amounts of broth (we had a little left over). Final mixture should be thick enough to suspend the rice in liquid that is the consistency of heavy cream. Rice should be al dente but no longer crunchy.

Remove from heat. Stir in butter, cheese, and marjoram, and season with s & p. Serve immediately.

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