Risotto With Garden Peas

Risotto With Garden Peas

This recipe makes a classic risotto that is finished with grated cheese and a generous addition of sweet green peas.  While it will be best if you have just-picked garden peas, remember that peas begin to lose their sweet flavor and tender texture within minutes of being picked.  So unless your peas are in-season, local, and acutely fresh, it will be better to use ones directly from the freezer.  No need to defrost.

For the cheese you can use either grated aged Asiago, an Italian cow's milk cheese from Vicenza, or grated Parmesan which has a similar flavor.  Use the steel blade of your food processor to grate the cheese into a fine grain which is better than using a rasper which makes soft little flakes which can melt too easily and make the risotto gummy.

For the rice you can use Arborio, Carnaroli, or Vialone Nano but it's essential to use one of these short-grain high starch rices to achieve risotto's unique and luxurious texture.

A wooden spoon is usually the best tool to use to stir the rice while it cooks.

Remember that the best risotto is cooked carefully, with constant attention, and served immediately upon finishing when you'll find that it was worth all that attention.



  1. Bring the stock to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat and reduce to a low simmer for the entire time you make the risotto.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or sauté pan over medium heat. Add the shallots, and cook, stirring frequently, until they are soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Don't let the shallots brown.
  3. Add the rice and cook, stirring frequently, until it is entirely coated and the surface of the grains become more opaque, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add wine, and cook, stirring constantly, until it is completely absorbed.
  5. Using a ladle, add about 3/4 cup of hot stock to the rice mixture, stirring constantly until it is absorbed. Continue adding the stock, 3/4 cup at a time, stirring after each addition until you've added about 6 cups. After about 15 minutes, when the rice is nearly done, add the peas and stir to combine. Add another 3/4 cup of stock and begin to test the rice for doneness which is when when the rice has become translucent and the grains are tender, and the peas have cooked and warmed through, about 20 minutes in total time.
  6. Remove from the heat and add the butter, stirring until it melts.
  7. Immediately add 1/2 cup of the grated cheese and stir until it melts and combines with the butter and creamy starch of the rice.
  8. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Serve immediately, passing the remaining grated cheese at the table.





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