Risotto with Fresh Fava Beans & Sugar Snap Peas

This bright risotto is tossed with mint and lemon zest for extra flavor.

2 cups fresh fava beans, peeled and blanched (see method)
2 cups sugar snap peas, trimmed of ends and blanched along with the fava beans
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1½ cups Arborio rice
4-5 cups warm chicken stock
½ cup white wine (if desired)
½ shallot, finely chopped
1-2 tablespoons chopped garlic
⅔ cup freshly-grated Grana-style cheese
2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, minced
Zest from 1 lemon
2 tablespoons cultured buttered with grey sea salt

1. In a sauce pan, bring the chicken stock to a boil and then turn down to a simmer to keep hot. In another large saucepan over medium low heat, melt 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter and cook the shallots until soft but not brown. Add garlic and continue cooking for about 2 minutes.

3. Turn the heat up and add the Arborio rice to the pan with the shallots and garlic. Stir for about one minute. Add a ladleful of stock to the rice and continue stirring until almost absorbed. Add another ladleful of stock and the wine and continue stirring; repeat until the stock is almost gone and the rice is creamy and tender.

4. Stir in the clarified butter with sea salt and season with salt and pepper to taste. Then add the blanched peas and fava beans to the pan. Stir well and allow to heat through (the fava beans should be bright green and tender), then add the cheese, lemon zest and mint. Serve immediately

Variation: This risotto is also lovely topped with a poached or olive-oil fried egg.

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