I recently bought this book, “Gorgeous greens” from the local book discount shop. Having become a fan of Annie Bell – I already have her books “Gorgeous cakes” and “Gorgeous desserts” - £2.99 didn’t seem like too much to gamble on another of her books !!
It had it in a pile of books by my bedside and I picked it out at random to browse through the other night when I was waiting for a text from Nick to confirm he had arrived safely in America for his current work assignment. Hmm, maybe I could use it for the next Random Recipes Challenge, what ever that might be, thought I.
This month the challenge is to cook the recipe in the middle of the book, in other words exactly half way through including the introduction and the acknowledgments. That would put me on page 97 where there is a recipe for “Venetian peas and rice”.
I happened to have all the ingredients in stock, except for the fresh parsley. There were some shelled peas left over in the fridge after my father had enthusiastically worked his way through shelling several bags that I bought in an offer in the supermarket. Marigold stock powder is something I always keep in the cupboard for when vegetable stock is required . So on the way home from work I nipped into Sainsbury’s for a bag of flat leaf parsley and looked forward to a tasty meal for one. I was not disappointed. The peas lost their bright green colour by the end of the cooking time and I half expected them to be like little bullets – I would not normally boil fresh garden peas for 15 minutes – but they were still sweet, tender and delicious.
The recipe was for four portions so I cooked half the quantity. I was not sure whether it should be a side dish, starter or light meal as it appears in the section entitled “gorgeous grains” but it seemed like it would be an improvement on the hotchpotch of random dinners I usually cook for myself when I am on my own.
It took very little effort to make and the combined flavours of the peas, parsley and parmesan were lovely. The rice was perfectly cooked. I had considered adding some bits of fried bacon but in the end I was glad I didn’t – the fresh taste of the dish would have been spoiled.
Half quantities are definitely worth doing again as an easy meal for one or lunch for two if you added some chunks of bread.
Here’s my version of pea risotto (full quantities) :
1 small onion
275g shelled fresh garden peas
200g Arborio risotto rice
150ml dry white wine
1 litre vegetable stock, made with 4tsp Marigold bouillon powder
70g grated Parmesan cheese
4 tblsp roughly chopped flat leaf parsley
Chop the onion and cook with the butter in a large saucepan until it softens and begins to colour.
Add the peas and rice and stir together. Cook for two minutes then add the stock and wine along with a good grind of salt and pepper.
Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan and most of the parsley.
Divide into soup or pasta bowls and serve immediately with the rest of the parsley scattered on top.