Since moving to our new house in Charlottesville, VA I have cooked three things almost exclusively - a meat sauce, bread, and pea risotto.
This pea risotto is delicious - in the photo here I added some browned chicken, but that isn't necessary for the dish. The fresh, sweet taste of the peas is a nice balance for the richness of the cheese/broth.
Adapted from Real Simple Recipes
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 c arborio rice
1 c dry white wine (Try the Blenheim Vineyards Chardonnay, perhaps?)
4 c chicken broth
1 c grated Parmesan cheese
2 1/2 c frozen peas, thawed and divided
1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper
Pre-rice Heat the butter and oil over medium heat. Sautee the onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes, until soft. Put the stock in a separate pot and bring to a boil. Once at a boil, turn down a little to keep it hot.
Rice addition Add in the rice and stir to coat. Keep stirring the rice in with the butter/oil/onion/garlic for a few minutes, until the rice becomes fragrant or some rice browning occurs. Try not to burn the onions (it happens sometimes)
Wine and stock Add in the cup of wine and stir to absorb. It will absorb/boil off fast since the rice and pot are very hot at this point. Turn the pan down to medium-low. Add a ladleful at a time to the rice and stir. Once the rice has absorbed the stock, add another ladleful. This should take about 25 minutes. If you run out of stock before the rice seems fully cooked, add some water to the pot that the stock was heating in and heat up the water and finish the rice with water.
Cheese and peas When the rice is done (the rice grains will be tender but not mushy), add the cheese, salt and pepper. Turn off the heat. In a blender/food processor, puree 2 cups of the peas. If you need some liquid to get the peas to blend, add a little water. Add the pea puree to the rice. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup of peas.
The dish was delicious. We even made it for a dinner party at some friends' house.