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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
SERVES 4 // PREP TIME 40 MINS // COOK 20 MINS
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. Pictured p178. 1 kg peas, podded,
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
⅓ 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
1 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.
2 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 to until creamy (1 minute), then season to taste with vinegar, salt and pepper.
3 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.
Note 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. ●
Risotto Glass from Montmartre Store. Plate (main) from The DEA Store. Surface from Di Lorenzo. All other props, stylist’s own. Stockists p175.