Sugar Snap Pea & Mint Risotto

The long-awaited summer has arrived (granted it could go away by next week, because this is the Pacific Northwest).  Ben says Memorial Day is the official unofficial start of summer (in theory), while the reality of high temps, constant summer & glorious outdoor water play dates begin after Fourth of July.  Our plans for the day include: sunscreen bodies, water, smoothies & bare feet.  I don't want to be doing much when it comes to cooking over the stove top, so please forgive me for this recipe on a week like this, which cries for salads, quick sandwiches, and anything cool.

But, I made this while the weather was partly sunny and I had a plethora of some of the best sugar snap peas I've tasted.  We have this little garden/farm, Joe's Garden, which is quintessential Bellingham.  Bouquets of sweet peas in early summer, lettuce heads the size of three grocery store kind ($1.25) and a cornucopia of bounty come August (eggplant, tomatoes, summer squash, basil, potatoes, peaches, etc).  The sugar snap peas had just been picked and we brought home a bag.  They were crunchy & sweet.  A week later they was still some left in my fridge and they had not lost their crunch--amazing.  If you live in Bellingham and you've never been--you must go.  If you're coming from out-of-town, do yourself a favor and stop by.

I had to use these snap peas along with the abundance of mint we have to make a risotto.  My friend Lindsey puts little ideas in regards to food of what I should make and then I set to the task.  We had a similar risotto using sugar snap peas, but it used a basil cream.  I really felt the addition of mint would be more refreshing, and it didn't fail me.  Take advantage of the small season of sugar snap peas by eating a couple on the way home and making this risotto.

Sugar Snap Pea & Mint Risotto (printable recipe)

1 vidialia onion with greens, chopped
2 garlic cloves
2 Tb olive oil
1 Tb unsalted butter

2 cups arborio rice, risotto
1/2 cup dry white wine
5-6 cups vegetable broth
1/2 - 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
kosher salt to taste

3/4 -1 cup sugar snap peas, cut into thirds
1 -2 Tb freshly chopped mint

Directions: Put vegetable broth in a small pot & heat.  You will want it to be warm when you add it to the rice for later.  Put a lid on the pot to keep it warm.

In a large pan, heat oil & butter on medium heat.  Add onions & garlic, saute till fragrant and onions softened, about 4 minutes.  Add a pinch of salt & mix.  Add the arborio rice and stir to coat.  Cook for about 30 seconds while stirring.  Add the white wine and stir.  Once the rice has absorbed the wine, add one cup of vegetable broth.  Stir and allow the rice to soak up the broth.  Continue adding one cup at a time and allowing the rice to soak it up.  This will take about 25 minutes.  When you have about 1 -2 cups left of broth, add the sugar snap peas.

Taste throughout to see how much salt you need.  The rice should be a little al dente.  Remove from heat and add freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano & stir.  Add the chopped mint.  Taste & see if you need more salt.  Serve straight from the stove.  Garnish with more Parmesan & mint.