Pea and Asparagus Risotto

in a pod

Some people find it tedious, but I think there’s something very relaxing about shelling peas. Sitting with a couple of bowls in front of me, paring knife in one hand to nip off the stems, pulling the strings down, then gently prying open the pod and working the little peas out – it’s meditative. We’ve generally got a bag or two of frozen peas in the freezer year-round, but in springtime, when sweet fresh peas hit the market, I can’t get enough of them and I look forward to the shelling.


I whipped up my basic risotto last night, stirring in about a cup and a half of fresh peas and an equal amount of chopped asparagus with the last addition of liquid. I also added the zest of a lemon, but the flavor didn’t pop like I wanted it to, so next time I do this dish (which should be soon – Mike has requested a do-over in a week or two), I will likely add some fresh lemon juice in addition to the zest. A generous grating of salty Pecorino Romano provided a nice counterpoint to the sweet peas and earthy asparagus.

7 thoughts on “Pea and Asparagus Risotto

  1. Jennifer, I am a brand new convert to fresh peas, thanks to my bride. My problem wouldn’t be the tedium of shelling them—it would be not eating them raw as I did so. Sweet and crisp and so unlike shriveled frozen peas.

  2. Jennifer Hess says:

    Terry, I have the same problem… which is why I always make sure to get plenty. 🙂

  3. That risotto looks delicious. I’ve been enjoying fresh peas from my garden. They are far better than the frozen ones, for sure!

  4. Jennifer Hess says:

    Thanks, Christa! Wow, your peas look absolutely gorgeous! I had intended to plant some in our garden this year, but I somehow completely spaced it when ordering my seeds. I’ll have to be content to just buy them in quantity at the Greenmarket while they are in season and try for home-grown next year. 🙂

  5. mdp says:

    Where could one buy Pea greens/shoots? I assume Union Square, but is there any other place around the city?

  6. Jennifer Hess says:

    You know, that’s a good question. I have only ever seen them at Union Square, but I actually haven’t looked for them elsewhere. You might try Garden of Eden or someplace like that?

  7. mdp says:

    Thanks. I had some ravioli stuffed with them at Nougatine and have been wanting to try cooking with them myself. Thanks for doing this blog by the way, it is now the main food blog I read. I hope the updates keep coming regularly.

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