Risi e Bisi alla Menta (Rice with Peas & Mint)
This is delicious Italian comfort food at it's freshest and simplest. Traditionally served each spring, Risi e Bisi (Rice with Peas) is enjoyed by young and old alike. The delicate flavor of the peas is not masked by the mild, nuttiness of the Arborio rice and their tender textures pair beautifully as well. Savory, light and absolutely delicious, this dish is best when made with freshly shelled peas, but can be made very successfully with frozen petite peas too. The fresh mint adds an unexpectedly lively, spring-like note.
Heat the chicken stock over medium heat. Reduce heat to a low simmer.
Heat the olive oil in a medium pan. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the arborio rice to the pan and cook in the oil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add 1 cup of the hot stock and bring to a low boil, stirring occasionally. As the rice absorbs the stock, add another 1/2 cup, continuing to stir. Add more stock, 1/2 cup by 1/2 cup as it is absorbed by the rice. Continue stirring and adding stock until all the stock has been absorbed and the rice is cooked, but still firm in the center, about 20 minutes.
Stir in the peas and grated cheese and season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat. Last of all, stir in the fresh mint and immediately.