Giulina had a career catering for the school children in Venice – apparently her pasta and beans was a favourite. These days, she lives in Murano; it’s close to Sant’Erasmo island where she sourced her organic peas. Giulina thinks organic pods are essential if you want to make a stock from the pea pods. For this recipe she includes a parsley salsa – this is a practical variation; living on her own she doesn’t use herbs fast enough so she keeps them ‘sott’olio’ – under oil- until she needs them.
1kg peas in the pods
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped parsley + 2 more for later
350g risotto rice such as Vialone Nano
good knob of butter – about 20g
Several handfuls of grated Parmigiano Reggiano – 30g or so.
Shell the peas, and place the pods in a saucepan with plenty of water. Cover, and simmer gently for around an hour until they’re very soft. Or use a pressure cooker to speed up the process. Scoop out the pods and pass them through a food mill, scraping the resulting puree into the stock. Season with salt.
Use a sauté pan to soften the onion in a little olive oil. Add the peas: how many is up to you; it doesn’t have to be all of the ones you shelled. Sauté them for a few minutes before adding the rice and parsley; keep frying and stirring for another minute, season with salt, and then start ladling in the pea stock a little at a time.
You’re aiming for a sloppy risotto. Once the rice is cooked (how long depends on the variety; check the packet for an estimate) Stir in more parsley, the butter and Parmigiano. Let it rest for a few minutes – if it thickens up too much, stir in a little more stock. Serve with more cheese.