I always forget how much I like peas. Then I eat them, and think to myself, ‘why don’t I eat these little cuties more often?’ This creamy risotto features some of my favourite spring veggies - asparagus, leeks and peas! Look for ‘English’ peas or shelling peas. These types of peas are larger than snap or snow peas, and the pod isn’t eaten, just the peas inside. If you're local to Victoria, I got mine at the Root Cellar; look for firm, round pods. One pound of pods yields about a cup of peas.
1 L chicken or vegetable broth
3 tbsp olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves, depending on size, minced
2 shallots, minced
1 leek, thinly sliced
1/2 lemon, use a vegetable peeler to shave the rind into thin, long strips
1 tsp red chili flakes, optional
1 ½ cups arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine, optional
1 bunch asparagus
1 cup English peas, shelled
1 cup parmesan, freshly grated, plus more for garnish
Salt and pepper
Garnish: fresh chopped mint, lemon zest, parmesan
- In a medium size saucepan, heat the broth until it boils, then lower to a simmer to keep it warm until you need it.
- In a large saute pan, heat the oil on medium high, then add the garlic, shallots, leek, lemon rinds and chili flakes. Saute until fragrant, and leeks start to become transparent, about 5-7 minutes.
- Lower the heat to medium. Add the rice to the pan and stir everything together. Cook for 2 minutes, then add the wine, if using.
- Add the broth, 1 cup at a time, allowing the rice to absorb the liquid before adding any more. This should take about 20-25 minutes. Add the asparagus with the last cup of broth and cook for a final 5 minutes.
- Turn the heat off completely and stir in the peas, then the parmesan. Garnish with more salt and pepper, fresh mint, lemon zest and additional parmesan.