Risotto is one of my all time favorite comfort foods, and this spring ramp risotto with peas recipe is a combination of sweet green peas with the tender young ramps that show up in the spring and send me to rice heaven.
It’s easy to be put off making risotto because of all the stirring, especially if you’re worn out by treatment, but I’m going to share a great trick with you that I was taught by Chef Alex Rajiv which makes risotto making unbelievably fast and almost effortless: cook it in a pressure cooker. It comes out so well that you will never dread making it again. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, check out Ann’s Tips below for the more usual method. It’s still pretty easy, you’ll just need some arm power.
1. Dice the white bulbs and red stalks of the ramps. Set aside. Shred the green parts of the leaves and set aside.
2. Melt 1 tablespoons of butter in a pressure cooker over medium heat. Sauté the white parts of the ramps until they have softened about 5 minutes. Add the rice and sauté with the ramp whites until you hear a clicking sound against the sides of the pan. Add the white wine and cook stirring until it has been absorbed.
3. Add the warm stock and close the pressure cooker. When the pressure is up, cook at medium high pressure for 6 minutes. Immediately run cold water over the cooker lid to quickly release the pressure and stop the cooking. When the pressure has dropped, open the cooker. The rice will be al dente with quite a bit of liquid remaining. This is normal. Return to the stove over a medium flame.
4. Add the ramp greens, and stir until they wilt. Stir in the peas, then the cheese, and then the remaining teaspoon of butter. Add the milk if using and beat everything in. Taste for salt. Cover the pan and turn off the heat. Leave for 2 minutes. Serve immediately.
Ann's Tips and Tricks
Risotto rice keeps absorbing liquid after you turn off the heat. If you let your risotto sit too long before serving, it will get dry and sticky. To keep this from happening quickly stir in a little more warm stock just enough to bring creaminess back to the rice right before you serve it.
How to make this recipe without a pressure cooker:
Prepare the vegetables in the same way, keeping 2 cups of stock warm in a pan on the stove.
Carry on with the recipe up to the end of step 2. Your new step 3 is as follows:
Step 3: Add a ladleful of warm stock to the rice and ramps. Cook, stirring constantly, until the stock has been absorbed. Repeat, until the rice is just ‘al dente’ about 15 -20 minutes. You should have a little stock left over.
Step 4: If the rice looks dry, add ½ a ladleful of stock to the rice, then proceed in the same way as with the pressure cooker recipe. The finished rice should be al dente in a creamy looking sauce. If you don’t want to add milk, add a little more stock in with the butter and cheese. Serve immediately.