Gabriella Teychenné’s Spring Risotto
Conducting and cooking seem to go hand in hand- they both involve the careful combination of different ingredients and flavours at the correct times, multitasking, adjusting, overseeing, as well as passion, love and enjoyment. So cooking as a hobby has always also been something that I was naturally drawn to and I’ve associated closely with the actions of my job. But cooking was always a nice respite or downtime after rehearsals or work. It’s funny that now I’m cooking more than before not just because I have more time on my hands, but because its a way by proxy that I can remain connected to some of the essence of my job and vocation at this time.n
The story behind the risotto is that because during lockdown the main carbohydrate I could get my hands on was an extraordinary quantity of risotto rice, I decided to make a personal project to attempt to create a risotto in every colour of the rainbow. This particular recipe was the third one I made, serving as the green in the rainbow risotto project. :)
Serves 4 generously
500g frozen green peas
A handful of fresh mint
A dash of milk
250g risotto rice
One medium onion
1 litre hot chicken stock
Glass of white wine
6 rashers of smoked bacon chopped (optional)
Fresh pea shoots
1. Add the peas to boiling water and leave for 3 minutes or until cooked but still bright green with a slight crunch. Drain and put to one side, allowing to cool for a short while.
2. For the pea purée, add 400g of the peas to a blender. Add in the fresh mint and blend - it will create a rough mixture. Add a small quantity of milk and blend, just enough to turn the rough picture into a smooth, luxurious purée. Set to one side.
3. Dice the onion finely. Add a good modicum of olive oil to a large, deep pan. Fry the bacon on high heat until crispy, then remove and set to one side on a paper towel.
4. Add to the diced onion to the pan on a medium heat, and allow to sweat for 4 minutes.Then add the risotto rice into the pan and allow to toast for 30 seconds.
5. Add the white wine and stir, allowing the rice to absorb the wine. Reduce the heat to medium/low and begin ladling the chicken stock into the pan. As the stock is absorbed by the rice, continue to add more gradually.
6. You’ll know when the rice is almost ready when it has swollen twice in size and is al dente - soft but with some bite - usually taking around 15-20 minutes. Ensuring you don’t undercook or overcook your rice, season with salt and pepper to taste. When the rice is almost ready, turn the heat right down and add the mascarpone, stirring in until the texture becomes rich and creamy.
7. Add in the remaining peas and the pea and mint purée, turning the heat off soon after. You’ll want the purée to be mixed in well with the risotto, but not to cook too much, or else it will loose the bright green colour and freshness.
8. Serve the risotto onto plates, and sprinkle with the crispy bacon pieces. Lastly, garnish with some pea shoots, serve immediately and enjoy!