Food & Drink

Pea Shoot Risotto

The gardener at England’s Great Dixter freshens risotto with one of the first signs of spring, a trick he learned from a Texas friend

photo: Andrew Montgomery


“Where possible, I do like to try to make use of more than one part of the plants I’m growing. Pea shoots are a particular favorite for their beauty and their excellent flavor. I have my great friend and travelling companion Lee Hallman to thank for this recipe. Lee lives in Fort Worth, Texas, where she has a wonderful container garden. This risotto is a real taste of early summer, and a great way to show off tender young vegetables at their best. You could also use young fava beans and broad bean greens, either in addition to or instead of the peas. This is delicious with a lightly seasoned baby greens salad, dressed simply with olive oil.” —Aaron Bertelsen


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From Grow Fruit & Vegetables in Pots: Planting Advice & Recipes from Great Dixter by Aaron Bertelsen (Phaidon, 2020).


Ingredients

  • Yield: 4 servings

    • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil

    • 1 tbsp. butter

    • 5 scallions, finely chopped

    • ½ cup pea shoots

    • 1½ cups risotto rice

    • 15 cups warm vegetable stock

    • 1½ cups sugar snap peas, halved on the diagonal if large

    • ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

    • 1 tbsp. crème fraîche

    • salt and pepper


Preparation

  1. Heat the oil and butter in a pan over medium heat, add the scallions, and cook for about 2 minutes until translucent.

  2. Meanwhile, finely chop the pea shoots, reserving a few whole pea shoots for a garnish if desired.

  3. Add the risotto rice to the pan and cook gently for 2 minutes, stirring all the time, without coloring. Add a ladleful of stock, stir through and continue cooking at a gentle bubble until the liquid has been absorbed. Repeat the process, gradually adding the stock a ladleful at a time until about two-thirds of the stock has been used. This will take about 20 minutes.

  4. Add the sugar snap peas, then continue adding the stock, a ladleful at a time, until it is all used up, about 5 minutes more. The rice should be cooked through but still retain a slight bite.

  5. Stir in the Parmesan, crème fraiche, and chopped pea shoots and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve garnished with the reserved pea shoots, if using, and extra Parmesan to sprinkle over.