This is what we had for Christmas Eve dinner. We selected something that would be fast and easy, yet hopefully tasty, and a dish that would give us a chance to try out a new pasta dough. Originally, we weren’t going to bother writing this one up, so we only have a few photos, but we thought it turned out well enough that it deserved a shout-out.
If you make risotto as often as we do, you’ll know exactly what to do from the title alone. You’ll know the basic ingredients, and all the steps to make a Lemon Dill Risotto. Even so, we suggest that you continue reading, because we have a small culinary trick that you might not know about. We don’t normally use this particular trick, because we almost always have some sort of broth on hand, or at least the vegetables to make some quickly. This time, when we decided on risotto, we’d just had some soup, using all our vegetable stock. What did we do?
We wanted a sauce so that our cappellacci would stand out and look nice when we had them for dinner. We surely didn’t want to drown the things in a heavy red sauce after the effort needed to fill and shape them. But we didn’t want to go with the standard sage-butter sauce, or light wine sauce; we wanted something bright and colorful. And we found it. Well, at least the germ of an idea for it, and went from there.
Often, when we go out to dinner at an Indian restaurant, we order a sampler appetizer, consisting of pakoras, samosas, and the like. Sometimes we like these even better than the meal; not surprisingly, because they’re usually deep-fried. Well, we don’t deep-fry here in the Scratchin’ It Kitchen, mainly because of dealing with all that oil, so, we figured, why not bake samosas instead?
These are not traditional mushy peas, by any means. But, don’t let that stop you from trying them. (Traditionally, mushy peas are made by soaking dried marrowfat peas in water and baking soda overnight, then draining and rinsing, then simmering for hours. Now, that’s enough to stop us from trying something that we’ve never even tasted before.) Don’t let the name stop you, either. Sure, they sound, well, somewhat like baby food, but mushy peas are quite traditional in Britain, where they’re often served at fish and chips shops. That’s enough of a recommendation for us to try them as a side for our Christmas dinner.
We wanted to use our fresh pea pods as soon as we got them home, preferably in a manner that doesn’t get in the way of the fresh-from-the-farm taste. We thought about just eating them raw, but decided that might be too minimal; instead, we went for the quick blackening and a simple dipping sauce.
Remember that pea soup from when you were a kid? You know the kind; the one with the ham bone simmered in water for several hours, then stripped of any remaining ham. Add a few carrots and a bag of dried split peas and simmer for several hours, until a spoon nearly stands up in the middle of the pan. Wow, wouldn’t that soup just stick to your ribs? We loved it, especially in the middle of winter! Well, sorry, but this is not that soup.
Instead, let’s think lighter, a pea soup made with fresh (or frozen peas), blended until super-smooth, with a good amount of delicious basil. That’s what we’ll be making.