The beginning of the British summer is heralded by the arrival of tender new peas. This is one of my favourite ways to use them, in a smooth, creamy purée that binds the delicate rice grains. The morels add an earthy quality to the dish.
Melt half the butter in a heavy-based saucepan, add the shallots and cook gently until tender. In a separate pan, heat the stock to simmering point. Add the morels to the shallots and cook for 1 minute. Add the rice and stir well to coat it with the butter, then pour in the wine and bring to the boil. Add a ladleful of the stock and cook, stirring, over a low-to-medium heat, until it has all been absorbed by the rice. Keep adding the stock a ladleful at a time, stirring constantly, until the rice is tender but still retains a little bite – it should take about 25 minutes in all.
Meanwhile cook the peas in plenty of boiling salted water until tender. Drain them well, then place half of them in a blender and blitz to a smooth purée.
When the risotto is ready, it should be fairly coarse in consistency without being sloppy. Add the pea purée to the rice and season to taste, then add the cooked peas. Finally fork in the Parmesan, the remaining butter and the mint. Divide between 4 serving plates, sprinkle over the pea shoots, if using, and serve immediately.
© 1999 Paul Gayler. All rights reserved.