*TIP: If making your own smoked chicken stock rather than using pre-made chicken broth, break down an Applewood Smoked Whole Chicken and set aside the meat to use in the risotto. In a stock pan, brown 1 C. celery, 1 C. carrots, and 1 C. onion (all chopped) with a bit of oil. Add the bones and any extra bits of the smoked chicken that you do not need for the risotto, 10 cups of water, and simmer for several hours.
In a large saucepan, bring the stock or broth and 3 1/2 cups water to a simmer.
Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until it’s translucent. Add the rice and thyme sprigs and cook, stirring constantly. The rice should become glossy in only a couple of minutes, at which point, add the wine and salt and stir until the liquid is absorbed. Slowly add the broth from the warm saucepan, stirring constantly. Only pour in a bit at a time and do not add more until the current broth has been absorbed by the rice. Cook until the rice is tender, about 25 minutes. Add the fresh peas and diced smoked chicken during the last few minutes of cooking and remove the thyme sprigs.
Stir in the Bellavitano Cheese, the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with parsley and extra cheese and serve.
GOT PHEASANT? This recipe can also be made with our Applewood Smoked Pheasant, with excellent results.