I think I can officially say that spring is here. Fact: There are buds on the trees and birds everywhere. Fact: Plants have started popping up in the yard and garden. Fact: It has been ridiculously nice out for multiple days in a row and I am once again able to use the porch and patio to their full extent. Conclusion: It must be spring. There’s no other explanation.
Most importantly, springy weather makes me excited for green spring vegetables. After months where the only produce in season are root vegetables and squash, green things seem particularly marvelous. Soon, we’ll be bogged down with all kinds of greens, lettuces, and asparagus, and I can hardly wait. For now though, I’ve really been thinking about peas.
And what better way to showcase said peas than in a creamy bowl of risotto? This version in particular really lets the peas shine, incorporating them both in whole form as well as adding some extra springy greenness as a lovely, bright puree with mint and lemon. And of course, you really can’t go wrong by topping it all off with crispy prosciutto, tangy feta, and fresh mint. It’s the perfect way to celebrate spring.
Pea Risotto with Crispy Prosciutto, Feta, and Mint
serves about 4
In a pinch, you can use thawed, frozen peas for this recipe, but if you can get your hands on some fresh shelled peas, you won’t regret it. I’ve had good luck finding them at Trader Joe’s.
- 1 Tbsp butter
- ½ medium onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 8 oz arborio or other short grain rice
- ⅓ cup dry white wine
- 3 cups chicken stock, heated to near-boiling
- 2 oz thinly sliced prosciutto
- 1 ½ cups fresh peas, divided
- 1 Tbsp (loose packed) fresh mint leaves, plus more for serving
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp fresh lemon zest
- ½ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- crumbled feta for serving
1. Melt the butter in a pot over medium heat. Once melted, add the onion, garlic, salt, and pepper and cook until soft and fragrant, about 3-4 minutes.
2. Add the rice and stir, continuing to cook until rice is well mixed with the onions and appears slightly translucent, about 2 minutes.
3. Add the wine, and continue cooking until wine is absorbed, about 3-4 minutes.
4. Add 1 cup of stock, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until stock is completely absorbed. Reserving ¼ cup stock to use in step 6, repeat this process, adding about 1 cup of stock at a time, until all of the remaining stock has been incorporated. This whole process should take about 20-25 minutes.
5. While rice is cooking, crisp up your prosciutto. Heat a large non-stick pan over medium high heat and add the slices of prosciutto. Cook, flipping periodically, until crispy. Cool slightly, then crumble.
6. In a blender or food processor, combine 1 cup of the peas, mint, lemon juice, lemon zest, and ¼ cup of the warm stock. Puree until smooth.
7. When the last of the stock has been almost completely absorbed into the rice and rice is tender, stir in the pea puree, the remaining ½ cup of whole peas, and the parmesan. Continue to cook, stirring, until cheese is melted and peas are just tender, about 2 minutes.
8. Serve risotto, topping each bowl with crumbled feta, crispy prosciutto, and finely chopped mint.