It’s official, Spring is here! The weather is warming up, and the farmer’s market is full of vibrant and fresh spring produce. To celebrate, I’ve partnered with a fabulous group of bloggers and Instagrammers, and we’re each bringing you a delicious spring recipe that uses peas! Peas are one of those ingredients that pleasantly surprise people when they find out they’re in a dish – they are subtly sweet, and add a bright and incredibly fresh flavor recipes. Today, I’m teaching you how to make a spring risotto with pea and pistachio pesto. People are OBSESSED with this pea and pistachio pesto recipe – I serve it on top of grilled bread with heirloom tomatoes in the summer, toss it into pasta dishes, and lately I’ve been mixing into this risotto recipe and it’s become a new favorite. I top this risotto with freshly grated parmesan cheese, lemon zest, peas, chives, pistachios, and crispy pancetta or bacon. It’s perfectly decadent, and bright and fresh from the pesto all at the same time.
Risotto takes a little TLC at the stovetop, but it’s worth the attention. If you decide to top yours with pancetta or bacon, render it until crispy and set aside, drain some of the fat, then make the risotto in the same pot. This little trick adds so much more flavor to your dish! Pair this with a crisp glass of white wine, and you’ve got the perfect spring dinner. This recipe makes about four small portions, serve with a side salad and some crusty bread to make it a more filling meal.
Spring Risotto with Pea + Pistachio Pesto
- Pea + Pistachio Pesto:
- 1 and 1/2 Cup Peas fresh peas OR thawed frozen peas work perfectly
- 1/3 Cup toasted pistachios
- 1/3 Cup basil tightly packed
- 1/3 Cup chives
- 3 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice from about 1 and a half lemons
- 1 Garlic clove
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 Teaspoon salt
- 4 Ounces diced pancetta or bacon optional - omit to make this vegetarian
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 Small yellow onion diced
- 2 Cloves garlic diced
- 1 Cup arborio rice
- 1/2 Cup dry white wine
- 3 and 1/2 to 4 cups low sodium chicken broth at room temp or warmer (use veggie broth to make this vegetarian)
- 1/2 Cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Freshly grated lemon zest
- Fresh peas
- Crispy pancetta or bacon
- Fresh chives
- Pulse all pesto ingredients in a food processor or blender until fully incorporated and set aside (this yields about 1 and 1/2 cups of pesto).
- Heat a large pot or skillet over medium heat, and render the pancetta or bacon until slightly crispy and set aside.
- Drain some of the fat, and add the olive oil to the pot. Add the chopped onion and sweat for several minutes until soft and tender, but not brown. Add minced garlic and cook for about one minute, just until fragrant.
- Add the arborio rice to the skillet and stir to coat it with the olive oil, onions, and garlic. Add the white wine and simmer until the wine has almost completely evaporated while stirring often, about 3 minutes.
- Add 1/2 cup of the broth into the arborio rice and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. The heat should be on medium to medium-low – not too hot that it burns on the bottom. Continue cooking the rice by adding the broth by the 1/2 cup and stirring constantly. Be sure to allow each addition of the broth to absorb almost completely before adding the next. This process should take about 20 minutes, and the rice should be tender but still a bit firm to the bite and the whole mixture is creamy. I used about 3 and 1/2 cups of broth, but if you feel that's too dry, go ahead and add more broth as desired.
- Remove from heat, stir in pesto, salt and pepper, and 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese and stir.
- Top with toppings of your choice. I love using ingredients that are already in the dish, but using the fresh version to incorporate different textures and flavor profiles. Freshly grated lemon zest, fresh peas, crispy pancetta/bacon, chives and pistachios taste amazing!
- Serve immediately!
For other delicious Spring Pea recipes visit the following blogs who participated in this project too! Head to Instagram and check out our hashtag, #easypeasyforspring – and use this hashtag for your own spring pea recipes!
Did you make this recipe?
I want to see your delicious creation! Leave me a comment below, and share a photo and tag me on Instagram with the hashtag, #whatannieseating !