Seasonal Flavors: Mushroom Pea Risotto

Mushroom Pea Risotto (Photo: Denise Zito)

I always want to eat fresh peas in May, and mine should be ready by the end of this month. May is mushroom month, too, (morels), but alas, it’s been too hot, then too cold, too dry…. I haven’t found a single morel all year.

Peas and mushrooms are great in risotto, a dish that I’ve learned to make well only in the past few years, learning at last that it’s all about layering the flavors.

So, if you start with homemade broth, (see -flavors-italian-wedding-soup), delicious mushrooms, peas, and fresh herbs, you create a truly sublime flavor-fest. But knowing and understanding the lives of the busy, rest assured that commercial broth, any old mushroom and dried herbs will also produce a delicious dinner.

Serve with a fresh green salad.

Mushroom Pea Risotto

  • 6 cups chicken broth, fresh or commercial
  • 1 ½ cup arborio rice
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 lb mushroom (oyster or shitakes work well)
  • 3 cloves crushed garlic
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried thyme)
  • 1 cup peas
  • ½ cup gorgonzola cheese, cut into chunks

Warm the broth to a simmer in a saucepan and keep it warm. In a Dutch oven or heavy pan, heat the oil, add the onion and cook for 3-5 minutes until soft. Add the mushroom and cook until the mushrooms release their liquid and the liquid cooks off—about 3 more minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for about 30 seconds more.

Add the salt, then the rice and stir till the rice starts to crackle. Add the wine and cook until the wine is no longer visible. Stir in enough broth to cover the rice and begin stirring, until the stock is almost absorbed. Add another cup of broth and continue stirring. Continue until all but a cup of the broth is added, and the rice is almost dry. This will take about 15 minutes.

Add the peas, and the final cup of broth and continue stirring until the broth is absorbed. The rice will now be very thick. Add the gorgonzola and stir until melted and incorporated.

Helpful hint: you can do this for a company dinner by serving your guests a glass of wine, having one of them volunteer to stir, and this allows you to add the ingredients one by one, while your guest stirs and you provide sparkling conversation. It works! 


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here