Spring Pea Risotto with Parmesan & Basil

Sharing a beautiful spring pea risotto that’s rich, yet bright and zesty! It’s a simple risotto made with a vibrant, silky-smooth pea purée stirred in at the end of the cooking process. With flavors of garlic, parsley, basil, lemon, and parmesan, this risotto packs in a lot of fresh springtime flavor. You can eat it on its own or add it as a side dish to any spring meal.

a plate of Spring Pea Risotto with herbs and parmesan over top

spring pea risotto – the details

You’ll start this spring pea risotto by making a really simple pea purée. It’s a mixture of shallots, garlic, peas, and chicken stock simmered until the peas are tender and the liquid is intensely flavored.

Blended up with fresh parsley, basil, and lemon zest, the peas transform into a creamy purée that is absolute magic.

You could do so many things with this pea purée – turn it into a pasta sauce, serve it under seared steak or fish, or even use a few tablespoons for an effortless vinaigrette. One of my favorite uses, though, is stirring it into decadent risotto.

a plate of Spring Pea Risotto with a big spoon and spoonfuls of risotto eaten off the plate

Once the pea purée is made, the spring pea risotto comes together with minimal ingredients. You’ll toast arborio rice in melted butter, add a splash of white wine, and then gradually stir in heated chicken stock until the rice absorbs the liquid, thickens up, and becomes tender.

The purée is added in at the end so it retains its bright green color. Finishing touches of butter for silkiness, lemon juice for brightness, and parmesan cheese (use a real, high-quality block of parmigiano reggiano) for flavor make this pea risotto really special.

Taste the risotto right before serving so you can add more salt if needed to bring out all of the flavors. I like to serve it with chives and pea greens on top, plus more parmesan, black pepper, and a drizzle of good olive oil!


Spring Pea Risotto with Parmesan & Basil

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a flavorful spring pea risotto with lots of garlic, basil, lemon, and parmesan

servings: 4


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 6 oz peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 ½ cups + 1 qt chicken (or vegetable) stock
  • kosher salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • ½ cup packed parsley leaves
  • 1 cup packed basil leaves
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh chives
  • pea greens, for serving (optional)


  1. Heat a 5-6-quart Dutch oven (or heavy-bottomed pot) over medium heat. Add the olive oil. Once hot, add the shallots. Cook for about 3 minutes until tender and slightly caramelized, stirring often. Stir in the garlic. Cook for another minute.
  2. Add the peas and 1 ½ cups of chicken stock. Season well with salt and black pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pot, and simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a high-powered blender. Add the parsley, basil, and lemon zest. Blend for 90 seconds until smooth. Set the purée aside.
  3. Wipe out the pot and return it to medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of butter and let it melt. Meanwhile, pour the remaining 1 quart of stock into a small saucepan over low heat. Keep warm as you make the risotto.
  4. Stir the arborio rice into the butter. Allow it to toast for a minute or so. Add the white wine. Use a wooden spoon to stir until the rice has absorbed the liquid. Start to ladle the heated stock into the pot, one ladle (or about a ½ cup measurement) at a time, stirring after each addition until the liquid has been absorbed. Continue until you’ve added all of the liquid. This process should take about 20-25 minutes.
  5. At the very end, stir in the pea puree. Allow some of the liquid to absorb as you stir. Lastly, stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, lemon juice, and parmesan cheese. Once the butter and cheese have melted, serve the risotto immediately (the risotto should be thick, yet still silky and spoonable).
  6. Garnish with more parmesan cheese, the chives, pea greens (optional), freshly cracked black pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil (if desired).

a plate of Spring Pea Risotto with herbs and parmesan over top

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