Leek Risotto with Peas and Mint

, from Issue #99. September, 2021
Photography by Josh Griggs.
Leek Risotto with Peas and Mint

Peas are my favourite frozen vegetable. They pair beautifully with leeks and lemon and the herby spinach purée brings this dish alive with a zesty fresh flavour – perfect for spring!

Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS

Pea purée
1½ cups frozen peas
1½ packed cups baby
spinach leaves
1/3 cup mint leaves
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt and ground pepper

Risotto
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large leek, white and pale green parts, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon sea salt
1½ cups risotto rice (e.g., arborio or vialone nano, see Cook’s note) ½ cup white wine
5-6 cups hot vegetable stock
finely grated zest 1 lemon
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup freshly grated parmesan, plus extra for serving

To serve
250 grams stracciatella or fresh mozzarella, ripped into pieces

METHOD

Pea purée: Bring the peas to the boil in a saucepan of salted water. Drop in the spinach and swirl together then drain immediately. Place in a food processor with the remaining ingredients and season generously. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides. Set aside.

Risotto: Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat and add the leek, garlic, bay leaf and salt. Cover and cook until the leek is tender but not coloured. Stir in the rice and cook for another minute until the rice is warm. Add the wine and stir until most of the liquid has been absorbed.

Add the stock a ladle at a time, stirring and allowing the liquid to be absorbed before adding the next quantity. When the risotto is tender to the bite and has a creamy consistency (after about 20 minutes), stir in the lemon zest and juice and the parmesan. Season to taste then stir in the pea purée.

To serve: Divide the risotto between plates or bowls. Top with stracciatella or mozzarella, olive oil and ground pepper. Serve immediately. 

Cook’s note: Arborio rice is a fat, short-grain Italian rice that is high in starch, essential for a creamy risotto. It is available from Farro and most supermarkets.