Sweet Pea and Leek Risotto

It’s pea season! Make something fresh and lively, but don’t throw away those pea pods, turn them into stock for your risotto!

turning into stockI love that old-fashioned term “mess of peas.” It reminds me of grandmothers on porches with children at their feet shelling peas (or shucking, depending on region) while talking about everything wild and wonderful in the world. My own grandchildren are now often enlisted in the pea popping duty once the English peas come into season, and it is one of the best seasons of all.

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This week, I looked at the mound of vacated pea pods sitting in my colander and thought that although I’d frequently added them to a bunch of other vegetable trimmings to make stock, I’d never used them alone. That was all the thought process needed to toss them in a pot along with a few meager trimmings from a leek I was planning to use for risotto, and in a half hour I had the best tasting “pea stock” one could imagine! So flavorful! Honestly, it is the most “pealicious” stock you’ll ever have!

I had to make pea risotto.

This is a simple recipe. Arborio rice, a leek, a little white wine, pea stock, and a handful of pea shoots. Simple, but scrumptious! This is pea tripled, and so simple and delicious.

I general, about a little more than 1 ½ pounds of shelled peas will give you two cups of peas.

Now, in the winter, you could easily use frozen peas and make your pea stock from sugar snap or snow peas that are frozen or organically grown. I probably wouldn’t refer to them as a mess of peas, but they will do in a pinch! Just thaw the peas and toss them in at the end. Pea shoots are available around here in my winter CSA, but they have become widely available even in many supermarkets.

sweet pea risotto

Sweet Pea and Leek Risotto

  • 1 1/2 to scant 2 lbs. English shelling peas yield 2 cups shucked peas
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large or two small leeks, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup white wine, or stock
  • 1 ½ cup arborio rice
  • 1 quart pea stock
  • 2 cups fresh peas
  • 1 large handful of pea shoots, or a little more

Shell the peas and place the pods in a large saucepan with 5 cups of water. Shave the dark outside leaves of the leek and add them to the pot. Bring to a boil, season with salt and pepper, reduce heat to a simmer, and let work for 30 to 35 minutes. Strain the solids out, and add water if necessary to make a little more than a quart. Keep the stock warm.

Peas
Don’t just toss those pea pods; add water and cook for about a half hour and you’ll have a delicious pea stock. Now, you can toss them in the compost.

 Now you are ready to make the risotto. In a large skillet, over medium high heat, warm the olive oil and then add the leek. Sauté for a few minutes until the leek begins to soften and just start to brown at the edges. Add the garlic, stir for about 15 seconds, and add the rice. You want to coat every grain of the rice, but you don’t want to brown it, so be careful here.

Add the wine and stir until it is absorbed. Season with salt and pepper. Add a couple of ladles of pea stock, and stir gently and occasionally. Continue doing this, cook until absorbed and add more stock.

when to add more stock
Time to add more stock!

After about 15 minutes, add the peas. They will cook as the rice finishes.

Continue to add the stock until the stock is all used up and a taste of the rice indicates it is done. You want the rice to be cooked, with no hard center, so if it is not done, keep cooking, add a little more water until it is right. The end consistency should be loose, so that if you place it on a plate, you can move it around. It should not be stiff. Taste, and adjust seasoning if needed.

Stir in the pea shoots so they wilt, and if you like, you can add a little Parmesan at this stage as well, but taste first, you don’t want to cover up too much of that pea flavor. Plate and enjoy!

P.S. I garnished the top with the first of my own sugar snaps, way to small to pick, but I picked them anyway…

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21 Comments Add yours

  1. chef mimi says:

    Fabulousness! Peas and leeks are so good, and risotto? To die for. I used orange-infused oil once to make a pilaf with peas and leeks, and it was a really nice flavor combination. I have to remember to do that again, or use some orange zest…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks you, and many thanks for the orange tip, from one Mimi to another! I will definitely try the combination!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, a new favorite in my risotto lineup!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Leeks are so underrated, in my opinion. They taste fantastic! 🌿🌱🍃

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree Gail! I love their sweetness and gentle onion flavor. Always have them in my refrigerator. They keep forever too!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. With potatoes…there just aren’t words. 🤣

        Liked by 1 person

      2. oh yes, It’s potato/leek heaven and it would definitely be part of my “last perfect meal.” And we can’t forget the butter while we are at it. My mother in law Pat used to run an incredible restaurant in the ski area here in Vermont, and one of her famous dishes was a vichyssoise. One bite, and you could die right then and there!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Funny you should say that, Dorothy. I made vichyssoise last summer and I could have sworn I saw angels. 🌟✨💫

        Liked by 1 person

      4. You did Gail. It is their summer supper! 😇

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Looks delicious! Grandkids are adorable too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, the food and the grandkids are great!

      Like

  4. CarolCooks2 says:

    I love it when I see a recipe using the whole of a vegetable …no waste..this sounds divine there is nothing like the taste of fresh peas 🙂

    Like

  5. It is pea season. What a delicious recipe. You’ve been ding s lot of Italian lately too. Risotto is a marvelous choice. Does your stock also make for a good bowl of old.-fashioned pea soup?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have been leaning toward the Italian! Glad you are enjoying the posts. Yes indeed, this stock would be absolutely perfect in a pea soup, especially a fresh pea soup. In fact, I’m making some this weekend! Got to get your fill while they are in season!

      Like

  6. wow, pea stock!! Dorothy, you continue to amaze me with your kitchen creativity! Your risotto sounds wonderful!
    Jenna

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The pea stock made such a difference. I’m going to make some fresh pea soup this weekend using the stock, and I can’t wait!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Karen says:

    You’ve been cooking up a storm lately and it all looks great!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have been, thanks Karen! The vegetables and fruits speak to me and everything is coming in beautifully!

      Like

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