Pea risotto with buffalo mozzarella and spring herbs


"The pea risotto at Fico in Hobart is the best I've had. Could you please print the recipe?" - Alasdair Lyne, Battery Point, Tas

Use the best herbs you can find - the key to success here is variety and freshness. At Fico, the chefs use a beer vinegar from Emilia-Romagna; we've used Champagne vinegar.

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You'll need

1 kg peas, podded, shells reserved 80 ml (⅓ cup) olive oil 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 100 gm carnaroli rice 150 ml dry white wine 600 ml mozzarella whey (see note), heated 40 gm chilled butter, diced 40 gm Parmigiano-Reggiano (preferably 36 months old), finely grated plus extra to serve buffalo mozzarella ball, blended until smooth, plus extra torn to serve (optional) 2 tsp Champagne vinegar, or to taste 1 cup mixed spring herbs, such as thinly sliced sorrel, fennel fronds, flowering chives, flat-leaf parsley, chervil and pea shoots Finely grated lemon rind and extra-virgin olive oil, to serve Fennel pollen (optional; see note), for dusting

Method

  • 01
  • Juice pea shells (see note) and refrigerate juice to chill. Heat half the olive oil in a large frying pan over high heat and sauté peas and garlic until tender (2-3 minutes). Cool, refrigerate to chill, then blend pea mixture with 100ml pea juice to a loose purée in a blender. Reserve remaining juice to serve.
  • 02
  • Heat remaining oil in a casserole over medium-high heat. Add rice and a pinch of salt, and stir occasionally until translucent and only just too hot to touch (1-1½ minutes). Add wine and simmer until you no longer smell alcohol (1-2 minutes). Add hot whey a ladle at a time, stirring continuously until stock is absorbed before adding the next, until risotto is al dente but still wet (10-12 minutes; add extra water if necessary). Stir in butter, Parmigiano-Reggiano and pea purée. Add mozzarella cream and stir vigorously until creamy (1 minute), then season to taste with vinegar, salt and pepper.
  • 03
  • To serve, spread a generous spoonful of risotto on plates, scatter with herbs, lemon rind, extra Parmigiano-Reggiano and torn mozzarella, drizzle with extra pea juice and extra-virgin olive oil and dust with fennel pollen.

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

Additional Notes

Buy mozzarella from a delicatessen and ask for as much whey as they can give you; if necessary top up with extra water. Fennel pollen is available from Herbie’s Spices (herbies.com.au). If you don’t have a juicer, blend the pea shells with a little water, then strain the juice.

Featured in

Oct 2017

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