The ‘Delightful’ Ms. David continued…

In Recipes on January 19, 2011 at 1:06 am

I first started making risotto with Eizabeth David’s ‘Risotto Alla Milanese’ from her book Italian Food.  Her version contains bone marrow and saffron but I have found the basic recipe works for any risotto.  Over the years I have made many versions including the one below with chicken and baby peas.

Chicken and pea risotto

Risotto with Chicken and Baby Peas


2 cups arborio rice

4 cups chicken stock (gently simmering)

1 large onion (chopped)

2 cloves garlic (minced)

30g butter

2 tbs olive oil

1/2 cup white wine

1 1/2 cups blanched baby peas (fresh or frozen)

1 free range chicken breast (poached for 20-25 minutes in gently simmering water and allowed to cool in its own stock)

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Fresh parsley and basil


Heat olive oil and butter in a large heavy based pot.  Gently cook onions and garlic until translucent.  Add rice and cook for a few minutes, stirring, until each grain of rice is well coated in the oil.  Add white wine and cook for a further few minutes until the wine has been absorbed by the rice.  Add the hot stock one ladle at a time and continue stirring until each one has been absorbed.  When absorbed, add another ladle, stirring all the time.  Continue until you have used up almost all of the stock (reserving a little to finish).  Stir through Parmesan cheese and a knob of butter (optional).  Stir through blanched peas and chopped chicken breast.  Finish with some chopped basil and parsley and the last of the stock.  Season to taste.  Serves four.

If you have any risotto left over you can make arancini balls.  Take some of the cold risotto mixture, press a piece of fior di latte or buffalo mozzarella into the middle.  Roll into a ball.  Coat in flour, egg and Japanese panko breadcrumbs.  Refrigerate until firm.  Deep or shallow fry until golden.  Drain on a rack and keep warm in the oven until ready to serve.

A hearty meal

  1. Just to let you know that there is a new, revised, e-book edition of “Lunch with Elizabeth David”. The novel involving David and her mentor, Norman Douglas, originally published by Little Brown, is available in all e-book formats and can be sampled at
    It is also in the Amazon Kindle store.

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