It’s July. The garden is bathing in a deep, midsummer light. The hens are dustbathing, honeybees are feeding on the wildflowers, and the peas are ripening in their pods. Tonight, its risotto- a pan of silky smooth rice, peas and flakes of pecorino. Sometimes, life is good.
The peas were planted indoors in March, and as the near-constant rain lashed down, the peas sprung up with a promise of summer and sweetness. A month or so on, they were dotted around the garden- in the borders, in tubs and anywhere-there-was-a-space. They grew up hawthorn, apple twigs and garden canes. The shoots and the snow-white flowers are as perfect as crunching into the first ripe pod of peas.
Yes- you do have to stand for twenty minutes, stirring, ladling, stirring, but it’s a calming, soothing experience. Fry an onion and garlic until tender, pour in the rice (100g per person), stir, and then add a a ladleful of hot stock, stirring all the time. Once each ladleful of stock has been absorbed, the next is poured in and twenty minutes later, you have a pan of fragrant, silky rice.
Use whatever you have to hand or is in season. I team up a vegetable with a herb and a cheese- tomatoes, basil, oregano and mozzarella, butternut squash, rosemary and parmesan, peas, mint and pecorino.
This risotto was finished with a few generous handlefuls of peas, butter, finely sliced mint and pecorino, and the plates with a few curls of the rich, grainy cheese. Dinner was served, and the auburn sun sank below the skyline as we ate and drank.