I've always wanted to start a piece that way, mainly so I could make fun of it. Who writes those kinds of things??? I hate food writing like that. I don't do that.
Moving on, it was actually at the grocery store (gasp!) that I noticed fava beans are back in season. I love their long pods, all fuzzy inside, the little beans snug and safe in their soft beds. Sure, shelling them, parboiling, then peeling is a bit of work but it goes fast. I started thinking risotto and looked around the kitchen. I had some shell peas from my biweekly veggie delivery that have finally plumped up with nice-sized peas, and a bowl full of baby artichokes in shades of mahogany and green. All that went into a spontaneous spring vegetable risotto I snottily named Risotto de Printemps. But hey, folks, it's ironic.
Risotto de Printemps
1.25 lb. fresh fava beans in pods (approx. 1 cup shelled)
6 fresh baby artichokes (or 1 cup artichoke hearts, chopped)
1.25 lb. fresh shell peas in pods (approx. 1 cup shelled or thawed from the freezer)
2 TBSP olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 onion, diced
1 cup arborio rice
4 cups chicken stock (plus 2 cups water if needed)
1/3 cup Parmigiano cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1. To prepare fresh fava beans: Bring pot of water to boil. Meanwhile, shell beans. Parboil shelled beans 60 seconds, then using a slotted spoon scoop out into a bowl of cold water. Let cool, then peel. Set aside.
2. To prepare fresh baby artichokes: Mariquita Farm does a great job explaining this and if you've never done it before it's nice to have a diagram. But I'll give it a shot. Cut off the stem till flush with the bottom of the artichoke. Snap back all the tough outer leaves. Once you've reached the soft, yellow-green inner leaves, cut off the remaining green or purple tops, about an inch (or so). Cut remaining artichoke in half length-ways, then into bite-sized pieces. Rub with lemon while cutting to prevent discoloration. Set aside.
3. To shell fresh peas: Duh.
4. Bring chicken stock to a near boil. Meanwhile, in a large soup pot, heat oil over medium till hot but not smoking. Add garlic, then 30 seconds later onion. Saute till soft, 5 minutes. Add artichokes and saute, maybe 3 minutes just to start to soften and warm them. Add rice and stir to coat.
5. Add one cup of stock to rice mixture and stir almost constantly till absorbed. Continue adding stock, one cup at a time, waiting till all the stock in the pot has been absorbed by the rice before you add more. It's hard to say how much you'll need, but I usually use between 4-6 cups. If you run out of stock, just start using hot water. Add liquid for about 15-20 minutes until the rice is soft but not falling apart.
6. Grate fresh Parmigiano cheese into risotto, saving a few shavings for garnish. Salt and pepper to taste.