Risotto “On The Grill”: Creating An Al Fresco Summer Delight

IMG_3699We all tend to think about risotto as a fall/winter recipe. As the chicken stock simmers, the shallot and pancetta scents intertwine, and the aromas fill the kitchen, preparing this dish also serves the function of warming up the home. But with so many spring and summertime ingredients just begging to be part of a risotto recipe, how do you create the magic without adding unwanted heat to your living space in the warm seasons? If you have the luxury, go ahead and fire up the barbecue grill!

Sounds crazy, but it’s far from it. This ah-ha moment arrived when I picked up some gorgeous sugar snap and shelling peas at the farmers’ market this July. Such vegetables are deliciously appropriate for a refreshing, textural risotto. I had the recipe in my brain, so all that was needed was a little creativity. My backyard gas grill strategically has a side burner….perfect for stirring the risotto outdoors. The results were divinely satisfying, and there we were, eating beautiful risotto al fresco!

If your grill does not contain the side feature, careful use of its grill top and pans with proper handles will suffice in creating this summer masterpiece. While you’re at it, throw a few grass-fed burgers on the remaining grill space. See my risotto recipe below, and keep your eyes open for an upcoming post about a unique twist on creating the chicken stock (Hint: It’s seasonal, and includes corn cobs!).

Summer Pea Risotto On The Grill

2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
1 cup Arborio rice
2 oz dry vermouth
4 cups chicken stock
3 cups mixture of sugar snap peas and shelled peas
2 oz parmesan cheese, finely grated
Salt & Pepper

Heat butter & olive oil in a sauce pan on your barbecue grill’s side burner, on medium until hot. Meanwhile, heat chicken stock to a simmer in a separate pot on the grill proper, making sure the pot handle avoids direct heat. Add shallots to butter & olive oil and sauté until the shallots are translucent. Add rice, incorporate thoroughly and cook for a couple of minutes. Add vermouth and let cook off until the rice is almost dry. Add chicken stock one cup at a time and stir quite often. Add the next cup of stock when the first addition is almost absorbed. Add the third cup of stock and cook the snap peas/shelled peas for 2 minutes (covered) in the microwave. Add the vegetables to the risotto after the fourth addition of stock is half absorbed. Add parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper. Pair with this classy Dry Riesling, or this phenomenal Cru Beaujolais.

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