Pea risotto and cottage cheese

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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. Use a vegetable rennet based hard cheese instead of Parmesan if cooking for vegetarians.

First published in 2015
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Fresh peas and pea stock


  • 2 shallots
  • 25ml of light olive oil
  • 150g of carnaroli risotto rice
  • 100ml of dry white wine
  • 20g of mascarpone
  • 20g of Parmesan, grated (or use a vegetarian alternative)
  • 40g of unsalted butter, cold and diced
  • extra virgin olive oil

Pea purée



  • Blender


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
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
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
  • 2 shallots
  • 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
Divide the risotto into 2 bowls and garnish with the cottage cheese, sea salt and a handful of pea shoots. Serve immediately
First published in 2015

Alyn Williams has worked at some of the very best kitchens in Britain, training for many years under Marcus Wareing and Gordon Ramsay. His plates display his own unique culinary personality – brilliantly accomplished, playful and with remarkable interplay of flavours.

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