Risotto with Peas


2 T olive oil
1/2 cup sweet onion, chopped
1 shallot, minced
Pinch of sea salt
1 cup Acquerello Carnaroli Rice or use Arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
3 1/2 – 4 cups chicken stock, heated
2 cups peas, thawed if from frozen
1/8 t ground white pepper, or to taste
Pinch of sea salt, or to taste
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Garnish: more Parmesan!

Spoon Mage™ Note:

When making risotto, a dish that insists upon being the center of the cook’s attention, prep everything before starting. For this recipe you will set out olive oil, chop the onion and shallot, set out a salt grinder, measure rice, measure wine, measure and pre-heat the stock in medium sauce pan (no need to boil, just get it hot and then keep it on very low heat on a burner next to the Acqauerello Carnaroli or arborio), measure and thaw the peas, measure the cheese, and set out the salt and white pepper.

Now you are ready to breathe and begin a pleasantly mindful risotto experience with no rushing about because you forgot to open the wine or take the cheese out of the fridge.

This recipe makes 4-6 side dish servings and yes the heat stays on medium the entire time. That is why you stir a lot. Total cooking time, including the prep should be about 45-50 minutes depending upon how fast you chop – let’s be mindful of fingers, ok?

This recipe is easily made vegetarian by substitution vegetable broth for the liquid and by skipping the cheese it can be made vegan. For those with a more vegan preference but want the “cheese” flavor, I have not experimented with vegetarian “cheese” and do not know if that will work. If you have tried it, let me know.


After prepping everything as indicated above, set a 3 quart saucepan over medium heat, add the olive oil.

When the oil begins to shimmer, add the onion, shallot, and pinch of sea salt. Sauté for about 5-6 minutes or until the veggies soften, but do not brown.

Pour in the rice and stir slowly and constantly for about 4 minutes, cooking until the edges of the grains become slightly transparent. A few grains will stick to your spoon each time it is removed. Check them out every now and then. It is easy to see when the change happens.

Now add the wine and stir constantly until it is largely absorbed by the rice. You do not want the pan to go dry and the rice should keep slowly moving so it doesn’t burn. This won’t take long and it is fun to watch the change.

Add one cup of hot stock (or do a ladle at a time which is about half a cup, it works, just takes more additions). Stir frequently, until the rice absorbs the liquid. You can rest a little from your stirring labors briefly after each cup of stock is added. Don’t ignore it, just go back to stir every minute or two. As the stock is absorbed, start to stir more – don’t worry about it, slow, steady, and lovingly.

When most of the liquid is absorbed, add a second cup of hot stock, again stirring frequently, until the rice absorbs the liquid.

Add a third cup of hot stock, stirring regularly until the rice absorbs the liquid. The grains should be nice and plump by now. Give one rice a taste. The bite should be pretty close to al dente (which is the perfect place for risotto to be). Add a little more stock a T or two at a time if needed to reach al dente state– firm to tooth, but not hard. Think pasta.

Now add half a cup of hot stock, pour in the peas, and add a pinch of salt along with the white pepper – start with about 1/8 teaspoon. You  can add more if you wish to later.

Stir slowly and regularly until the rice absorbs the liquid and your risotto reaches a molten lava state. Not too dry, not too liquid. This will not take long.. Remove from the heat.

Stir in the cheese until it melts. Pour into a pretty serving dish and enjoy.

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