Friday, February 11, 2011

Pass the Peas Please.

Here I go again. I'm daring to find ways to incorporate nutritious foods at Casa de Richards aka home. In this most recent attempt, I tackled peas. My husband likes peas, but I am not really a fan of them.

However, I did have some additional motivation. Green Pea Risotto. This dish has been mentioned on Top Chef, Hell's Kitchen, and every other cooking reality TV show. Before we talk about risotto, let's talk about the peas.

Peas are extremely nutritious! World's Healthiest Foods says this about them, "Green peas are bursting with nutrients. They provide good to very good amounts of 8 vitamins, 7 minerals, dietary fiber and protein. Green peas' supercharged nutritional profile can supercharge your health." 

One cup of green peas has the following nutrients and benefits. 
  • Over 50% DV of Vitamin K (which helps calcium in strengthening bones and also helps control blood clotting)
  • 42% DV of Manganese (This mineral serves many functions in the body including calcium absorption, blood sugar retention, and thyroid function)
  • 37.9% DV of Vitamin C (supports immune system and can even help reduce the risk of cancer)
These are only the top 3 nutrients in green peas. Click on the World's Healthiest Foods link to get the full 411 on the health benefits of green peas. 

Now onto the risotto. This is all I know about it. It is an Italian rice dish that is traditionally made with Arborio rice and Parmesan cheese. It pairs well with green peas and scallops. Risotto is cooked in a less traditional way as the liquid is poured into risotto about half a cup at a time as the rice is being cooked to allow the rice to soak up the broth as much as possible. I also know that Tre got kicked off of the current season of Top Chef All Stars because of his sub-par version of risotto and the last season of Hell's Kitchen had risotto as an appetizer on it's menu. Yup....that pretty much sums up my knowledge of this wonder dish. 

If you are looking for a professional risotto recipe, here you go.

I made my risotto by first sauteeing a cup and a half of green peas in about a tablespoon of olive oil with minced garlic and some of my mother's seasoning.(She literally gets herbs and seasonings, blends them, and bottles them for her use. She brought us some a couple of weeks ago. Yea, she's that amazing!) The stove was on medium heat.

Then I poured in two cups of rice and stirred it around a bit. I poured a total of six cups of chicken broth half a cup at a time. My arm got quite a bit of a workout. I continued stirring until the rice was al-dente (not too hard and not too soft) and then I added about half a cup of 98% fat free cream of chicken sans the chicken pieces. 

I seasoned the rice using rosemary, celery salt, and some garlic parsley salt. Then came the cheese. I added about half a cup of grated Parmesan, and then it was ready to be served. In case you are counting, risotto has 6 ww PointsPlus per half cup serving. Half a cup may not look like much, but it is certainly filling.

As you can see, we ate our risotto with grilled tilapia. It was incredible! I enjoyed the green peas immensely. I never thought I would say those words. My husband enjoyed it too. He said, "It was good. I'm not as wordy as you are, but it was very good." Yay!

This was an extremely successful attempt. Peas have officially become part of my diet. 

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