It’s officially Spring here, which means it was 70 degrees and sunny this morning, and now there’s half an inch of snow on the ground…classic Utah. Snowy or not, we’re celebrating the new season with heaping bowls of Spring Pea Risotto. Cause sweet peas. And bacon bits. And lemon zest.
I recently spent a month trekking in Patagonia, which is at the southern tip of Chile. Being in the Southern Hemisphere means it’s autumn there right now…the leaves are just beginning to turn orange and gold, and we could feel a brisk bite to the air. I kept thinking I would come home to full-blown fall.
Instead, I came home to find blossoms on the trees and tulips poking from the garden. I must say, I’m relieved it’s Springtime here. Winter is great and all, but boy am I ready for warm summer nights, backyard BBQ’s and flip-flops all day ery day.
I found it interesting that nearly every restaurant in Argentina/Chile served risotto. So naturally, I ordered it multiple times in the attempt to find the perfect risotto. This Spring Pea Risotto is nothing like the ones I tried there, however, it’s just not roasted-lamb-and-mushroom season here. It’s Spring pea season!
This is why I love this risotto:
1) It’s filling but not too heavy like many risottos are.
2) It has a deliciously creamy texture (which comes from slow cooking with small amounts of liquid at a time…so don’t be tempted to add all the liquid at once!)
3) It has bits of crunchy bacon and bright zesty bites of lemon that are like “pow!” in your mouth.
4) It comes together quickly for a simple dinner or side-dish.
So cheers to Spring! And cheers to eating Spring Pea Risotto in shorts and winter boots while standing in an inch of snow.
- 4 pieces bacon or pancetta
- 1/2 yellow onion
- 2 cups arborio rice
- 4 cups chicken stock *see notes
- 1 cup frozen peas
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cut bacon into small bite-sized pieces. Add to a large, deep, skillet and cook until crispy. Remove from pan to cool.
- Drain most of the bacon grease, leaving about 1 Tbsp. in the pan. Add diced onions and cook on low heat until translucent.
- Turn heat to medium and add uncooked rice to the pan. Stir to coat in bacon grease.
- Add 1/4 cup chicken stock, reduce heat to low and stir while rice absorbs the liquid. Once it's absorbed, add another 1/4 cup and repeat until all the liquid is gone and rice is tender. (Should take about 20 minutes).
- Once rice is tender, add frozen peas, lemon zest and bacon. Stir to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve warm.
*We recommend using Better than Bouillon Chicken Base mixed with warm water.