Chicken and Pea Risotto
is a light and summery risotto recipe that can be rustled up in no time.
Risotto is an Italian dish of rice cooked in a meat-, fish-, or vegetable-based broth to a creamy consistency. It is one of the most common ways of cooking rice in Italy and is normally a primo (first course), served on its own before the main course. However, there are recipes for risotto as a main course, and this is one of them!
Don't be tempted to try and make risotto from just any old rice. A high-starch round medium- or short- grain rice is best for risotto. Such rices have the ability to absorb liquids and to release starch and so they are stickier than the long grain varieties. Arborio is considered to be amongst the best (and most expensive) varieties, but any good short-grained risotto rice will work.
How to make Chicken and Pea Risotto:
Peel and slice the onions heat the oil in a pan and fry the onion gently until soft. Add the rice and stir well, then add about 3-4 tablespoons of white wine and simmer until reduced completely. Make the vegetable stock from a cube and add a good ladleful of the hot stock to the pan. Stir continuously. When the rice has absorbed all that, add more stock. Continue adding more stock, stirring continuously, until the rice is cooked (about 20 minutes).
Meanwhile, blanch the asparagus (about 5 minutes in boiling water) and blanch the peas (about 2 minutes in boiling water). When the rice is cooked, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and gently fold in the peas, asparagus, spinach, basil and cream.
While the rice is cooking, season the chicken breasts well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat the oil in a frying pan and place the chicken breasts skin-side down. Fry the chicken breasts on both sides until lightly browned, then place them in an ovenproof dish. Make the chicken stock from a cube and pour in enough hot stock to come one third of the way up the sides of the chicken breasts. Place in a preheated moderate oven (Mk 6 - 400ºF - 200ºC) for 15-20 minutes, or until completely cooked through.
To serve, place the risotto into serving bowls. Slice the chicken and place on top of the risotto.
If you want to be really Italian, sprinkle the dish with parmesan shavings before serving.