in the earnest heat of a burgeoning summer i’ve got just a moment of sentimental feeling for the late spring. and i surmise that if you feed the heart, the mind will begin to think. we’re a bit behind the times in pockets of the midwest. the winter is extended, the spring is late, and the summer is peppered with a mixture of hail and fever. the erratic weather distorts our perception of the world. we’re isolated in a space and time of our own, left to introspection, but always open to intrigue. we transform ourselves from what we find flawed, and if the spring was late – so late i’ll bid it goodbye.
on the sultriest evening i’ve embraced the tenacious patch of peas that tangles itself ever-upward. spitefully, in what was considered the earliest of spring , i threatened the ego of the atmosphere and planted a large wealth of seed. a retort of constant snow bloated the soil with moisture and ice, leaving many of the seeds to decay. but when our spring finally came, my spite had turned a vivid green color.
low and heavy summer clouds greet us this evening, i’m reminded somehow to always challenge myself. take a short growing season and make it long. remember each moment for what it really is, and not what the world anticipates it to be. dispel and devote.
i want to share what i find the quintessential recipe for peas. the evolution is simple, and i’ve encountered little dispute over its integrity. i’ve looked to marcella hazan’s recipe for the ultimate source of inspiration. risi e bisi is so simply, rice and peas. a soupy conglomeration of arborio rice and peas – deepened exponentially by rich parmesan cheese. she calls for no substitute to simmering the pea pods as part of the stock, a sweet infusion of new life – but to this i experimented with finely chopped pea shoots, yielding a likened result. whether you find it ultimately comforting or plain is a debate left unsung. but most of all, it is an ode to what spring has come and gone.
- 2 tbl olive oil
- 2 tbl butter
- 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 cups shucked peas/frozen peas, thawed
- 1½ cups pea shoots, finely chopped
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- ½ cup parmigiano-reggiano cheese, finely grated
- dill oil:
- 1 cup dill fronds
- ½ cup olive oil
- heat the olive oil and butter in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. add the chopped onion, and cook until soft and golden, 7-10 minutes.
- in a separate stove pot softly heat the vegetable stock.
- add the peas and pea shoots to the onions, along with a hefty pinch of kosher salt. cook 3 minutes, until vivid but tender. add 3 cups of the vegetable stock, cover, and lightly boil for 10 minutes.
- add the rice and final cup of broth to the pot. continue to cook, covered, until rice is tender, about 20 minutes.
- to make the dill oil: combine the dill fronds with the olive oil in a processor. strain mixture into a small bowl.
- once rice is done, serve with dill oil and grated cheese.