The key to this traditional Italian dish is to serve it when the rice is just cooked and the risotto is still a little runny — the last thing you want is a clumpy heap of rice. Alyn Williams' humble pea risotto recipe is finished with a generous helping of cottage cheese.
It is always a pleasing moment when a talented apprentice steps out and succeeds on their own terms. After working as Head Chef at Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley for 5 years, Alyn Williams has done exactly that; taking over the Westbury in the autumn of 2011 and quickly winning a Michelin star.
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Pod the fresh peas and reserve the pods. Blanch the peas for 2 minutes in boiling salted water, then refresh in iced water. Set aside until ready to serve
2kg fresh peas in the pod
Bring the 1.5l of water to the boil, roughly chop and add the pea pods. Season lightly and cook for around 10 minutes, until the water tastes of the pea pods. Strain the stock and discard the pods
Bring the 150ml waters to the boil in a pan. Add the frozen peas, season lightly then blitz in a liquidizer. Pass the purée through a fine sieve and set aside to finish the risotto
200g of frozen peas
150ml of water
Place a pan over a medium heat and add oil. Once hot, add the shallots and sweat to soften with no colour. Add the rice and cook for approximately 2 minutes until the grains start to become transluscent. Add the wine and reduce until almost dry
25ml of light olive oil
150g of carnaroli risotto rice
100ml of dry white wine
Add half of the pea stock, bring to the boil and allow to reduce, without stirring, until the stock is just below the line of the rice
Stir the risotto with a wooden spoon, at this point the starches will be released and you will notice the stock start to thicken. Little by little, add the rest of the stock a ladle at a time, stirring constantly until the rice is al dente (cooked but with a bite)
Beat in the mascarpone, Parmesan, butter and a good drizzle of olive oil. Stir in a couple of spoonfuls of the pea purée and the fresh peas
20g of Parmesan
20g of mascarpone
40g of unsalted butter, cold and diced
extra virgin olive oil, good
Divide the risotto into 2 bowls and garnish with the cottage cheese, sea salt and a handful of pea shoots. Serve immediately
50g of cottage cheese
2 2/3 handfuls of pea shoots
1 pinch of sea salt
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