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Risotto with Fresh Peas

I am not sure what possessed me to make risotto today since it was about 30C out and that is about 93F for you Americans. It's certainly not risotto weather but I had these fresh peas and it was either this or carbonara, which is also not much of a hot weather dish is it?

In the end, risotto for The Kid won out over carbonara for Shack so, loving mother that I am, I stirred over a hot stove, slaving for my offspring and it was totally worth it. The bit of bacon added a nice meaty, saltiness and let the freshly shelled peas do their thing. Next batch of fresh peas will be turned into a carbonara for Shack. Promise.

Fresh Pea Risotto
serves 3 (4 if it's not the main course)

1 tbls olive oil
1 tbls butter
3 slices bacon, sliced into thin strips
1 shallot
1 small clove garlic
1 1/2 cup arborio rice
3/4 cup white wine
fresh thyme
3/4 cup fresh peas
1000 ml chicken stock
pinch saffron
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan
1-2 tbls buttter

Cook the freshly shelled peas in a pot of salted, boiling water for ten minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water and set aside.

Put the chicken stock and a pinch of saffron in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and let it not quite come to a simmer - you just want to make sure it's hot.

In a deep sauté pan, heat the olive oil and 1 tbls of butter and sauté the bacon until the bacon just starts to take on some colour. At that point, add the onion and garlic and sauté for a few more minutes.
Throw in the rice and stir around for about 2 minutes until the rice becomes opaque and the bacon will be looking like it's cooked. Pour in the white wine and stir until the wine is almost totally evaporated.

Now you start adding in the chicken stock, 1 ladle full at a time. After each addition, stir in a figure eight until it's almost evaporated before adding the next ladle full of stock. Keep this up for about 15 minutes. After the first ladle of stock, add in the fresh thyme. I don't want to tell you how much thyme to use because it's totally subjective but I use the leaves from about 15 stalks of thyme. Just taste it and see if you want more or not as you go.

Add in the peas and keep ladling stock in for another five minutes. After the 20 minutes of cooking it should be perfect - a bit of bite but not hard and not soft and mushy and a little bit creamy.

Take the pan off the heat and beat in the butter and cheese with a wooden spoon. I cover the pan for just a minute while I get the bowls ready for plating so it can kind of steam for a minute and soften up a bit.

Serve in shallow bowls.

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