Make most of the green mangetout shoots and broad beans in our Risotto Primavera. This dish is packed with seasonal colours, flavours and textures.
Risotto Primavera is a classic Italian dish that celebrates the flavours of spring by using fresh, seasonal vegetables. Inspired by this happy, colourful meal, I paired sweet mangetout shoots, young broad beans and fresh mint with creamy risotto rice to celebrate the beginning of the new season.
Half of the mangetout shoots in my recipe are blended with fresh mint to create an elegant, lightly aromatic sauce, while the other shoots are used as a topping to add a bit of crunch.
Blanched broad beans are stirred in the cooked risotto to bring additional texture, while parmesan intensifies the creaminess and helps to bind all the flavours.
During the season, this recipe provides a perfect opportunity for more sustainable cooking; as a bonus, it's full of vitamins and all the natural goodness.
Cooking my Risotto Primavera takes around 40 minutes, but preparing the broad beans adds another 20 - 30 minutes to the schedule (unless you use frozen beans).
Risotto Primavera with Mangetout, Broad Beans and Mint
- 500 g broad beans in pods (around 100g of beans) or podded frozen broad beans
- 240 g mangetouts
- handful mint leaves keep a few to decorate
- 2 pints vegetable stock you can use stock cubes dissolved in boiling water
- 1 large onion finely diced
- 3 garlic cloves thinly sliced
- 350 g risotto rice (Arborio rice)
- 150 ml white wine
- 100 g Parmesan grated
- 3 tablespoon oil for frying
- salt and pepper
- splash lemon juice optional
- For broad bean pods: Remove the beans from the pods and peel off the skin-like casings of each bean (the skin can taste bitter). Cook the peeled bright green beans in boiling water for 3 minutes; drain and set aside.Note: 500 grams of broad bean pods give around 100 - 120 g beans.For frozen beans: Cook them in boiling water for 3 minutes; drain and set aside.
- For mangetouts: Blanche 240 g of mangetouts by inserting them into boiling water for 1 - 2 minutes, then promptly plunge them in icy cold water to stop them from further cooking. Drain the water and set the mangetouts aside.Note: Don't discard the hot water from blanching the vegetables; instead, use it to make vegetable stock.
- For the vegetable stock: Re-use the water from blanching, add extra water to make 2 pints, bring to a boil and stir in your favourite stock cubes.Or use any 2 pints of your favourite veggie stock.
- Take ½ of the mangetout pods and blend them with a small handful of mint leaves and a few splashes of vegetable stock until it's a consistency of runny puree. Set aside.
- Cook the Risotto: Fry the finely diced onion. Once lightly golden, add three sliced garlic cloves, followed by 350 g of risotto rice. Toss the rice in the pan on medium-high heat for another minute.
- Pour in 150 ml of white wine. The wine evaporates quickly.
- Add two ladles of stock and let the risotto simmer, stirring regularly. Every time the rice absorbs most of the liquid, add more. Season with salt and continue cooking on medium heat.The rice should take approximately 25 - 30 minutes to cook. You should be able to use most of the stock, if not all.
- Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary, add a squirt of lemon juice, stir one last time and remove from the hob.
- Mix in the mangetout puree, parmesan and cooked broad beans.
- To decorate: Scatter a few shoots of blanched mangetouts and some mint leaves over the top of each portion.
Tips for Making My Risotto Primavera
- To make this recipe off-season, buy frozen or tinned broad beans. Imported mangetout pea is available from the fresh vegetable section all year round.
- Risotto rice, known as Arborio rice, gives the dish its characteristic creaminess. I don't recommend substituting the Arborio rice in this dish if you want creamy Italian-style risotto. If in a pickle, you could use sushi rice (but that might prove a more expensive option).
- Don't rinse the rice before cooking; it removes starches, an essential element for a sticky, creamy texture.
- Stir the rice regularly; it helps to activate starch, making the dish creamier.
- Don't let the rice get too dry; risotto should be moist.
- For an even more indulgent experience, add 100 ml of single cream or any plant-based cream-like variation to the dish.
This recipe is a great way to use seasonal veggies, get most of the best deals and be more sustainable.
If an environmental consciousness is of any interest to you, here are some notes and tips on what to look out for:
- Mangetout's season starts in June and ends around September.
- Broad Beans' season overlaps and runs from June to mid-September.
- That's when you get the best deals, and the veggies didn't have to be grown using additional energy to heat and lighten up greenhouses.
- For sustainable cooking, it is always better to use local produce. The further the vegetable travels to get to your plate, the bigger the carbon footprint.
- When the veggies are in season, there is a higher chance the farms and shops will stock UK-grown crops.
- Rice has to be imported as it doesn't grow in the UK. Unfortunately, rice farming is known for not being environmentally friendly. You can read about the impact of rice production in the article 'Is it time to choose sustainable rice?'. But the improvements are on the way - I found Gallo selling sustainable risotto rice.
- As a matter of fact, our households are the most significant contributors to food waste. It's also the best place we can start a change.
- Check your fridge regularly for any food items expiring soon. Serve portions you will likely finish.
- Don't waste water from blanching the veggies. Re-purpose it for the stock.
- The Mangetout Risotto leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- I don't recommend freezing this risotto.