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Saffron Pea Risotto Recipe

Saffron Risotto with spring peas

There's nothing like crates overflowing with green peas in their pods, fava beans and asparagus to announce the arrival of spring. So why not reach into your italian pantry and grab that box of canaroli or arborio rice for a foray into the deliciously creamy world of risotto. During our culinary vacations in Italy we always include a risotto making class because there are fine points that will make all the difference between exceptional and lifeless.

Saffron Risotto with Spring Peas

April & May bring fresh peas and they are so sweet you can eat them raw. There is no need to blanch them before adding them to this risotto since the heat of the pot is enough to soften the peas. Use leftovers for deliciously crisp rice balls (that'll be another blog).


1 ¼ cups/250 g canaroli rice

2 shallots peeled and minced

1 small red onion peeled and minced

2 garlic cloves peeled and finely minced

5 saffron threads (optional, but gives the dish a beautiful golden color)

½ cup white wine

2 cups chicken stock

2 cups water

½ cup fresh peas shelled

2 tablespoons butter

Grated Parmigiano (optional)

Salt & Pepper as you wish


1. Combine the stock and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Keep the liquid at a simmer because it needs to be hot as you add it to the rice.

2. In a heavy bottomed pot, add just enough olive oil to coat the bottom. When heated, add the shallots, onion, garlic and saffron. Cook over medium heat until the vegetables are sweet and translucent.

3. Add the rice to the vegetables and stir continuously for 1 minute. Add all the wine. It should sizzle. Continue to stir until the wine has been absorbed. Begin to add the liquid, 1 ladleful at a time, stirring continuously until fully absorbed before adding more. Cook the rice for 18minutes.

4. Stir in the peas and continue to cook for another 2 minutes. The rice should be soft but still have a slight bite. Add the butter all at once, stir until melted and serve. Season with salt and pepper. Top with grated Parmigiano if desired.

#risotto #pearisotto #saffronrisotto #cookingfor2

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