Spring Pea Risotto is a culinary ode to the abundance and freshness of the season. The vibrant green peas not only add a pop of color to the dish but also offer a burst of flavor that embodies the essence of new beginnings. The creamy texture of the risotto envelops the tender peas, creating a medley of textures that will delight your palate and awaken your senses.
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
6 oz peas (fresh or frozen)
1 ½ cups + 1 qt chicken (or vegetable) stock
freshly cracked black pepper
½ cup packed parsley leaves
1 cup packed basil leaves
1 tbsp lemon zest
4 tbsp butter
1 cup arborio rice
½ cup white wine
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
¾ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
2 tbsp chopped fresh chives
pea greens, for serving (optional)
Heat a 5-6-quart Dutch oven (or heavy-bottomed pot) over medium heat. Add the olive oil. Once hot, add the shallots. Cook for about 3 minutes until tender and slightly caramelized, stirring often. Stir in the garlic. Cook for another minute.
Add the peas and 1 ½ cups of chicken stock. Season well with salt and black pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pot, and simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a high-powered blender. Add the parsley, basil, and lemon zest. Blend for 90 seconds until smooth. Set the purée aside.
Wipe out the pot and return it to medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of butter and let it melt. Meanwhile, pour the remaining 1 quart of stock into a small saucepan over low heat. Keep warm as you make the risotto.
Stir the arborio rice into the butter. Allow it to toast for a minute or so. Add the white wine. Use a wooden spoon to stir until the rice has absorbed the liquid. Start to ladle the heated stock into the pot, one ladle (or about a ½ cup measurement) at a time, stirring after each addition until the liquid has been absorbed. Continue until you’ve added all of the liquid. This process should take about 20-25 minutes.
At the very end, stir in the pea puree. Allow some of the liquid to absorb as you stir. Lastly, stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, lemon juice, and parmesan cheese. Once the butter and cheese have melted, serve the risotto immediately (the risotto should be thick, yet still silky and spoonable).
Garnish with more parmesan cheese, the chives, pea greens (optional), freshly cracked black pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil (if desired).