Silky, rich and the color of spring, this risotto is just lovely. In spring, as we turn our faces toward the sun, we are re-awakened like the buds on the trees. This brilliantly simple grain dish, laced through with fresh beans and peas, is nourishing, yet gentle in its effect on us.
Makes 3-4 servings
Place the water in a saucepan over low heat with a pinch of salt and keep warm throughout the cooking.
Place a small amount of oil in a deep skillet, with the garlic and onion, over medium heat. When the vegetables begin to sizzle, add a pinch of salt and sauté until the onions are translucent, about 2 minutes. Stir in rice and sauté until just coated with oil. Add mirin or wine and reduce heat to low.
When the rice has absorbed the mirin/wine, begin adding warm water, by ½ cups, stirring the rice frequently, and only adding more liquid as it is absorbed. The total cooking time should be 25-30 minutes, yielding creamy rice that still has some firmness.
While the rice is cooking, bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the fava beans until tender, 3-5 minutes. Strain out and in the same water blanche the peas, about 1 minute. Drain and mix gently with the fava beans. Remember to shell the fava beans after blanching.
When the rice is just about ready, when you have added the final ladle of water to the risotto, season to taste with salt and stir in the cooked fava beans and peas, allowing them to cook in the risotto for the final minutes. Remove from heat, transfer to a serving platter and serve garnished with fresh parsley.
Cook’s Tip: if you prefer to make this dish without wine or mirin to avoid any alcohol, simply substitute sparkling apple juice for a delicious result.