Our odyssey into risotto cooking, and Heston’s recipe archive, continues with another oddball Heston risotto recipe from his 2002 cookbook Family Food.

heston blumenthal pea risotto recipe family food recipes

Here’s my personal 3 favourite things to eat in the whole entire world:

  1. Salt & Chilli Squid
  2. Mussels with Black Bean Sauce
  3. Hot Dog & Pineapple Fried Rice (forget Mac n’ Cheese, this is true joyfully trashy food).

Yet looking through what we’ve cooked over the last 12 months you’d be forgiven for thinking we refuse to eat anything except bastardised Italian food. Spag bols, macaroni cheeses, and a couple of weird risottos.

I still don’t like the idea of standing over a stove endlessly stirring, but I’m starting to come round to the idea of enjoying risottos at home – largely thanks to the ease of the Modernist Cuisine method of using a pressure cooker to make them.

After our recent ragu and marinated squid recipes here’s another dish from the Heston Blumenthal recipe archives: Heston’s Pea Risotto recipe.

SUMMARY

  heston blumenthal pea risotto recipe family food recipes

Recipes: Heston’s Pea Risotto Recipe

Special Equipment: Blender or vegetable mill, Pressure Cooker (optional)
Special Ingredients: Vermouth

Time: 30 minutes
Cost: Under £5

Serves: 2
Difficulty: Easy

INGREDIENTS

400g frozen peas, defrosted
75g unsalted butter

200g risotto rice
75ml white wine
50ml vermouth
1 onion, diced finely
1 large garlic clove, finely crushed
500ml stock or water
40ml olive oil
25g unsalted butter
40g Parmesan
20ml double cream, lightly whipped, or Mascarpone
400g defrosted frozen peas

Mint, parsley or tarragon
Salt & Pepper to season

METHOD

  1. Blend defrosted peas until smooth. Pass through a sieve if required.
  2. Gently heat the smooth pea puree in a pan with 75g butter. Season well, reserve.
  3. Bring the stock or water to a simmer in a separate pate pan.
  4. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add the rice and toast, stirring, until it begins to crackle & develops a nutty aroma.
  5. Add onions, garlic & butter. Lower the heat and cook for  minutes, stirring.
  6. Add wine and reduce. The add the Vermouth and also reduce. Stir all the while.
  7. Add the stock a ladle at a time, continuously stirring.
  8. The rice will be cooked after approx 18 minutes. Add more liquid if required.
  9. When the risotto is cooked add the remaining butter, cream and parmesan. Leave to stand for 5 minutes
  10. Stir through 200g of the pea puree, and 50 – 100g of whole defrosted peas. Add chopped herbs. Serve.

REPORT

Step 1: Pea Puree

  heston blumenthal pea risotto recipe family food recipes

Heston’s Pea Risotto recipe starts by asking you to blitz 400g of peas to a puree using a blender for five solid minutes. (400g allegedly being the minimum amount you can use). I’d assumed we’d just tip the peas in, turn the thing on and watch a smooth pea-paste appear before our eyes. No such luck. The bottom few blended, but the other 90% remained resolutely intact.

heston blumenthal pea risotto recipe family food recipes

Rather than stand there listening to the hellish grinding of the blender for another 4 minutes -in the vain hope of more progress- the peas just got the hand-blender treatment. This worked much better.

Unfortunately the results were still a little bit coarse. As much as I didn’t want to do it we knew this puree could only go one way: through a sieve.

heston blumenthal pea risotto recipe family food recipes

This often-used Heston technique is a horrible process lasting five to ten minutes, a physically difficult and demanding job. It ruins sieves too (the pressure of pushing with a ladle pulls the mesh away from the rim).

heston blumenthal pea risotto recipe family food recipes

The results are wonderfully silky, but it does make us think it might be worth investing in a Masha for this sort of job.

heston blumenthal pea risotto recipe family food recipes

After that you add lots of butter and heat the peas very very gently in a pan. (Too much heat and you lose the vibrant Hulk-green colour). Keep this puree handy for finishing.

Step 2: Starting the Risotto

  heston blumenthal pea risotto recipe family food recipes

We’re deviating from Heston’s risotto recipe here. His instructions say to toast the rice first, then cook the onion and garlic for 5 minutes. We’ve found this leaves the onions slightly harsh and raw. Apologies Heston, our onions are going in first and getting ten easy minutes so that they caramelise nicely. Garlic goes in after 5 minutes, to avoid it overcooking.

heston blumenthal pea risotto recipe family food recipes

We turned the heat up a bit once the grains went in with the hopes of toasting them. Since the onions are absorbing a lot of that heat this doesn’t quite work. The thought was there.

heston blumenthal pea risotto recipe family food recipes

We also throw the wine and Vermouth in together because, hey, lazy.

Step 3: Pressure Cooking

  heston blumenthal pea risotto recipe family food recipes

I do prefer water to stock with some risottos, for a cleaner taste. Especially if the only other option is stock cubes. But since all our favourite pea soup recipes have a chicken stock base (or ham stock,  if you’re a dedicated Heston-fan) we’re risking Marco Pierre White’s “concentrated salt-paste with added chicken flavouring”.

heston blumenthal pea risotto recipe family food recipes

Then it’s lid on, bring to full pressure and then set a timer for 3 minutes.

Step 4: Finishing

heston blumenthal pea risotto recipe family food recipes

You sieve or stir the risotto for a few minutes longer depending on your mood and preferences. After that dump in your diverse array of dairy fats, pop he lid back on and then wait for five minutes (a good time to check your pea puree is warmed through or heat up some plates).

heston blumenthal pea risotto recipe family food recipes

After that just stir through the pea puree and some extra defrosted peas (which provide another Heston-factor: flavour encapsulation). You also need to add a staggering amount of seasoning to get the best out of this dish. It was quite unsettling to see how much salt we needed to add to the already deadly looking pile of starch and fat.

heston blumenthal pea risotto recipe family food recipes

Heston also recommends adding some herbs, either parsley tarragon or mint. We used a couple of mint leaves. I’m not the biggest fan of mint, but it was on the window ledge (the parsley was in the garden. So was the tarragon, but ever since I lost the labels I can’t tell the difference between that and the chervil). Used sparingly the mint adds an exceptional final touch of lightness and freshness.

heston blumenthal pea risotto recipe family food recipes

VERDICT

  heston blumenthal pea risotto recipe family food recipes

I still maintain that risotto is one of the worst things you can eat of an evening: an irredeemable onslaught of starchy carbohydrate, salt and saturated fat. However, when it’s this delicious it’s very easy to be swayed.

heston blumenthal pea risotto recipe family food recipes

And Heston’s Pea Risotto recipe certainly is delicious. Vibrant and fresh, it’s the ideal thing for summer.

This recipe might be old, but with a couple of minor tweaks it is well worth your time to make. Cheap, tasty, simple and relatively easy to make (provided you skip sieving the pea puree). As unhealthy as it undoubtedly is, this recipe could get even a sceptic like me making risotto more often

heston blumenthal pea risotto recipe family food recipes

NEXT TIME

  heston blumenthal pea risotto recipe family food recipes

If you’re making this recipe from Heston’s recipe book Family Food, or the version of it published on the website we’d only recommend the changes we made:

  • Cook the onions and garlic before toasting the rice
  • Speed the cooking process with a pressure cooker (if available)

Would you try this risotto recipe, or have you had a go at making risottos using the pressure cooker method? Tell us your thoughts below by leaving a comment