Pea, Mint, and Feta Risotto

1 small onion, finely diced
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (medium or robust)
1 1/2 - 2 c. young, sweet, tiny sweet peas, fresh or frozen
5 c. vegetable stock, warm
2 Tbsp. Bianco White Balsamic
9 oz. round rice for risotto, Arborio, Vialone Nano, or Carnaroli
handful of chopped, fresh mint
3.5 - 5 oz. chopped or crumbled Greek feta
salt and freshly ground black pepper
firm cherry tomatoes (about 4 - 5 per person)
2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp. Traditional Balsamic
3 peeled and crushed (not chopped) garlic cloves
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Begin by roasting the cherry tomatoes. Preheat the oven to 375F and place the individual quiche tins on a baking sheet. Stir together 2 tablespoons olive oil with 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar in a glass baking dish or pie plate. Season with a little salt and pepper and add 2 peeled and crushed garlic cloves. Toss the cherry tomatoes in with the flavored oil and roast for about 20 minutes or until the skins are split and shriveled and the tomatoes start to show signs of roasting (a bit golden). If you like, turn on the overhead grill for the last couple of minutes to color. Remove from the oven and allow to cool while preparing the rest.

To prepare the risotto, heat half the butter and the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the chopped onion and stirring, cook for a couple of minutes until softened and just starting to turn golden. Add the peas and a few tablespoons of the warm stock and cook for a few minutes to defrost the frozen peas or up to 10 minutes for fresh peas until tender. Add the rice and toss with the onion and peas until all the grains are coated in oil. Cook for a minute or two until the grains of rice become more translucent. Pour on two ladles of broth and cook, stirring continuously and gently, until the liquid is almost completely absorbed. Continue cooking the risotto over medium heat, adding two ladles of broth at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of liquid to be almost absorbed before adding more broth. This should take between 20 and 25 minutes total cooking time from the moment the rice is added to the peas. A few minutes before the rice is done, stir in a large handful of chipped fresh mint, the chopped or crumbled feta, more or less as you please and Bianco White Balsamic one tablespoon at a time. Taste and add a bit of salt only as needed - the stock and the feta are both salty so taste to see if any additional salt is necessary. Add pepper. When the risotto is finished, the rice should be tender, the risotto creamy and smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining butter. Serve with the warm roasted cherry tomatoes.

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