pea, ricotta and lemon zest risotto

Ruth Rogers

serves 6

1½ litres chicken stock
3kg fresh young peas (podded weight 1½ kg)
2 tbsp fresh mint leaves
3 cloves of garlic, peeled, 2 chopped
200g unsalted butter
500g spring onions, roughly chopped
400g carnaroli or arborio rice
2 tbsp fresh basil leaves, torn
150ml dry vermouth
250g fresh ricotta, lightly beaten
2 washed lemons, zested
50g parmesan, freshly grated

Heat the chicken stock to boiling and check for seasoning, then set aside. Bring a pan of water to the boil and add ½ tbsp Maldon salt, the peas, half the mint and the whole peeled garlic clove. Simmer for about 3 minutes, until the peas are al dente. Drain, saving 150ml of the water. Return the peas, mint and garlic clove to the pan with the water and set aside.

Melt 150g of the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed pan over a low heat. Add the spring onions and soften. Add the chopped garlic, then the rice, stirring for 2–3 minutes to coat each grain. Add a ladleful 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. In a food processor, mash together the remainder of the peas, mint and garlic with the liquor, then add to the risotto and combine. Stir in the basil. Add the vermouth, about 2 tbsp of the ricotta and the remaining butter. Cook briefly to wilt the basil and melt the butter. The rice should be al dente.

Serve with the remaining ricotta over each portion, sprinkled with lemon zest, salt, freshly ground black pepper and parmesan.