• Risotto with Spring Peas and Morel Mushrooms


Spring Risotto

By Andrew Zimmern

This beautiful fresh pea risotto with morels is the perfect way to celebrate the season.

Watch Andrew make this recipe:

Risotto with Spring Peas and Morel Mushrooms


  • 2 ½ cups fresh peas, cooked and cooled (frozen peas, defrosted, will work too)
  • ½ cup parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons minced shallots
  • Several pinches of dried Calabrian chile or crushed red chile flakes
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 2 cups of room temperature light-bodied Italian white wine, a nice pinot grigio works well
  • 10 cups chicken stock, brought to a simmer
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter
  • 3 cups morel, spring chanterelle, or other fresh wild mushroom, cleaned
  • 2 cups grated aged Reggiano Parmesan, plus more to pass at the table
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper


Puree 2 cups of the peas and the parsley in a food processor. Pass through a sieve and reserve.

Place the oil in a very large saute pan with straight sides of at least 3 inches in height over medium heat.

Add the shallots and saute until glassy. Add the chilies to your taste. I don’t serve this spicy at all, but a teeny pinch or two helps the sweetness of the peas really pop.

Add the rice, stir and slowly cook for a few minutes to coat the rice and warm them very well. Don’t toast the rice, pull up short of that.

Add the 2 cups of white wine, and stir, letting the wine evaporate as it cooks and to absorb evenly into the rice. Lower heat so that you see the wine and rice simmering but not boiling.

When almost all the way evaporated, add 3 cups of the hot stock. Stir well and make sure you are lightly simmering, stirring every 90 seconds or so. When almost all the way evaporated, add 3 more cups of the hot stock. Stir well and make sure you are lightly simmering, stirring every 60 seconds or so.

In a saute pan, heat 1T of butter until foaming and when very hot add the mushrooms, sauteing until just cooked through, reserve and keep warm, seasoning with salt.

Taste the rice after the last batch of liquid has evaporated for the most part. You don’t want any crunch but you don’t want mushy rice. Keep adding one cup of stock at a time, stirring until the rice is barely tender.

When tender, immediately stir in one more cup of stock, the peas, pea puree, sea salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste. Stir again, pull from heat and add the cheese and remaining butter, stirring to combine.

Taste for seasoning and remember, risotto shouldn’t be dense, it should be served alla’onda as the Italians say. You should see its creaminess and the sauce, and it should spread across a plate, not in a runny or liquid-y way but the way hot lava creeps across the land. If you need to stir in some more stock, go ahead, just don’t make soupy rice.

Divide on warm plates with the mushrooms scattered on top…

Pass cheese at the table and serve with a crisp salad.

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