This pea and fennel risotto makes the most of spring with English peas, pea puree, fennel and big squeezes of Meyer lemon.
Spring is here! The sun is shining, the warblers are out and the red buds are blooming abound in Austin, Texas. Celebrating spring calls for a delicious, easy weeknight dish of pea and fennel risotto. Risotto strikes me as one of those dishes that’s perfect year round. A serious comfort food in the winter, a lighter, more delicate version can be made in spring for a fresh, produced filled supper.
English peas (otherwise known as Garden peas), crunchy-sweet fennel and luxurious risotto rice come together wonderfully in this exceptional spring dish. Peas are tender this time of year and very versatile. When choosing peas, look for bright-green pods with crisp, plump shells (English peas must be shelled before eating). If you can’t find podded-peas at the store, shelled peas work great! Even frozen peas will do the trick.
Peas pack an incredible amount of protein and fiber in just one cup (about 8 grams of each)! And let’s not forget the fennel in this dish. Not only does it provide an excellent source of vitamin C, it’s aromatic dill-like fronds and anise flavor have me smitten.
Finishing off the pea and fennel risotto calls for fresh squeezes of sweet, Meyer lemon. Warm, comforting and fresh, this risotto is downright dreamy!
If you try this recipe, I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment and rate this dish (once you’ve tried it). And be sure to tag your Instagram #homegrownprovisions or Tweet me @homegrownprov so I can see all the yummy risotto you’re cooking up!
1 1/2 cups English peas, shelled and cooked (if you are using frozen peas, no need to cook)
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
5 cups low-sodium vegetable stock (warmed)
1/2 cup white wine
juice of 1 Meyer lemon
1 1/4 tsp salt
fennel fronds for topping
In a large pot, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat.
Add the diced onion and fennel plus 1/4 tsp of salt. Cook for 7 minutes or so, or until vegetables are softened.
Meanwhile put 1/2 cup of peas in a food processor with a splash of vegetable stock and whirl away until pureed.
Stir rice into the onion/fennel mixture for 1 minute.
Add the wine and let it cook for a minute or two.
Add the stock, 1 cup at a time to the rice. Stir frequently. When the stock has been absorbed, and another cup until all of the stock is gone and the rice is creamy and of a good consistency (about 20 minutes or so).
Stir in the pureed peas and the remaining whole, cooked peas.
Remove from heat, add the lemon juice and remaining salt. Stir and let sit for a few minutes.
Spoon risotto into shallow bowls.
Top risotto with fennel fronds and a drizzle or two of olive oil if you’d like, plus more squeezes of Meyer lemon.