3 kg fresh young peas (podded weight 1.5 kg)
250 g fresh ricotta cheese, lightly beaten
finely grated rind of 2 washed lemons
1.5 litres of vegetable stock
Maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves
3 garlic cloves, peeled, 2 chopped
200 g unsalted butter
500 g spring onions, roughly chopped
400 g carnaroli or arborio rice
2 tablespoons torn fresh basil leaves
150 ml dry vermouth
50 g Parmesan, freshly grated
River Cafe Cook Book Green,
Ebury Press, London
Heat the stock to boiling and check for seasoning. Bring a medium saucepan of water to the boil, and add 1/2 tablespoon salt, the peas, half the mint and the whole garlic clove. Simmer for 3-4 minutes or until the peas are al dente. Drain, keeping back 150ml of the water. Return the peas, mint and garlic clove to this water and put aside.
Melt 150g of the butter in a large, thick-bottomed saucepan, add the onion and soften. Add the chopped garlic, then the rice, stirring to coat each grain for about 2-3 minutes. Add a ladle of hot stock and stir, adding another when the rice has absorbed the first. Continue stirring and adding stock for 10 minutes or until the rice is not quite al dente.
Add half the peas, keeping back the cooked garlic and mint and their liquor. Mash the remainder of the peas, mint and garlic with the liquor in the food processor, then add to the risotto and stir. Stir in the basil. Add the vermouth, about 2 tablespoons of ricotta, and the remaining butter. Cook briefly to wilt the basil and melt the butter. Test for doneness: the rice should be al dente. Serve with the remaining ricotta over each portion, sprinkled with lemon zest, salt and pepper and Parmesan.