I love Risottos. Cheap, easy to make, they can be as complex as you want them to be; a quick storecupboard supper, or a sumptous feast to be labored over on the stove-top. This week, time was at a premium, so quick and easy it was. Pea and Ham, that old classic, doesn't need boiled ham hock to make it perfect.
All you need do is make sure you have some good quality, off-the-bone ham left over that can be shredded. Make your regular Risotto base by coating Arborio Rice in butter and olive oil and stirring over a low heat until translucent. When this happens, simply pour chicken stock over, bit-by-bit, until it gets creamy and begins to look like Risotto.
Here's where you modify; shred the ham in, and add a handful of frozen peas. Let the meat warm and the peas cook; and season with black pepper and mint. The mint is essential, as it lifts everything up and gives this Risotto a lightness. Grate in some Parmagiano Regianno, and a hit of black pepper. Finally, stir in a knob of butter. All done.
We enjoyed this with a bottle of Birra Del Borgo's Genziana (6.2%abv), which is a funny beer to categorise; the word 'herbal' was the first that sprang to mind. Saison-esque and wheaty, with an estery profile, it's refreshing and slightly citrussy, but with a distinctive Herbal note within that matched really well with the Mint in the Risotto. Sweet, it's one of those beers that probably comes to life a little better with food that without.