Monday, April 20, 2015

Cooking Together: Kevin Sousa & Snow Pea Risotto

Kevin Sousa of Superior Motors came to visit ALEC, Allentown Learning and Engagement Center, last month and shared a snow pea risotto recipe with our students and their families as our 2nd guest in our Cooking Together Series.
When I asked Kevin if he would be interested in being a guest chef, he did not have to think long about it. He liked our mission for ALEC and the series, he also believed it aligned with the ongoing work of Superior Motors in Braddock and the Braddock Youth Project.

Kevin wanted to share a simple and adaptable recipe with our students to be used in any season or whatever frozen vegetables are available to a family at any given time of the year. 

He brought peas and fresh pea shoots from the Braddock greenhouses and shared about the importance of eating fresh and in season produce.  One student asked if everything was made from scratch, Kevin was able to elaborate further on how you can avoid many extra chemicals and preservatives that you may find in pre-boxed meals if you make recipes from scratch. 

Several boys were very interested in the recipe and a few stood the majority of the demonstration to watch intensely, comment and beg to help with each step of the recipe. 

A student was asked to read the recipe aloud, ingredient by ingredient and step by step. This allowed Kevin to go over each ingredient and even share where it was sourced and/or bought or if there  was also a substitute for it. Since the group as a whole discussed each step  of the process together through the recipe reading they asked a lot of questions about the food and the process. 
I feel that this approach to recipes was helpful to our students so that they felt as if they were also making it and not just watching a demonstration. 

Sofia Sousa, Kevin's daughter, helped to stir the pot and keep the risotto from burning and worked with one of our students to help add water/broth to the mixture to get a good consistency. 

We blended up snow peas with a a bit of salt and pepper to be added to the risotto mixture. The kids thought this was fun and looked a little like slime. 

2 qt.s vegetable stock (or water)
1 oz. unsalted butter
1 oz. olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 pound arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine (water or stock can be substituted)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Bring the vegetable stock (or water) to a boil and keep hot. In a 3 qt. saucepan, combine butter, olive oil and shallots. Saute over medium low heat until shallots are translucent.
Add the rice and toast for approximately 5 minutes, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon.
Add the white wine (or hot water or stock) and continue stirring until the wine has evaporated.
Add the hot vegetable stock, just enough to barely cover the rice and continue stirring until all the liquid is evaporated.
Repeat the above step until the rice is cooked al dente, about 15 minutes total cooking time.
Add salt and pepper to taste.

Note: We blended snow peas in a blender to make a mixture to add to the risotto, topped with pea shoots.

There were happy faces and satisfied taste buds at the end of the session and all went home with the recipe to make for themselves.
This is a great class to attend together as a family. Parent and child can interact in the process, discover if it is a recipe they all like and go home to recreate it together as a family.

Our next Cooking Together class will be Saturday, April 25th with food blogger Quelcy Kogel. Make plans to attend as a family!

We had a blast with our first Cooking Together guest, Bek of Sweet Peaches, she shared her Black Bean Sliders recipe with us. Go check out the blog post for more information.

We are so appreciative of all the excellent chefs and cooks in Pittsburgh who have such giving hearts. Thank you! 

If you are a Pittsburgh chef and would like to be a Cooking Together guest please contact Amber at

Thank you so much Kevin and Sofia Sousa for giving your time, energy and creativity to our students and families!


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