operation empty freezer (risotto with peas)


With our move to Philadelphia imminent, I’m desperately trying to empty our freezer and cabinets. I knew I had a bag of frozen peas in the freezer, and I was having trouble figuring out what to do with it. No way was I going to just cook up a bunch of peas to chase around my plate.

Paula of Half-Baked had this recipe for risotto with peas, and that was the perfect accompaniment to our defrosted strip steaks. Let’s try to look past the fact that I had to buy Arborio rice in order to make risotto, and I only used half of the box. The other half will be making its way to Philly with us.

I get the idea that some people think risotto is a lot of work, but I’ve actually found it to be very forgiving. It really doesn’t need constant stirring after the broth starts being added. It’s perfect for a cook like me – I don’t have to stand at the stove indefinitely, but I’m free to stir whenever I want. Dishes like long-grain rice and slow-cooker meals always stress me out because I don’t get to check on what’s happening. Occasional stirring is fun! Constant stirring is tedious.

Paula provided a recipe for her risotto with peas, but I got the impression that it was just her standard risotto recipe with peas added near the end, so I opted to follow my standard risotto recipe instead of hers.

Dave and I agreed – cheesy salty starches are good.

Risotto with Peas (adapted from Cooks Illustrated and Emeril)

6 servings

3½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 cups water
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup frozen peas
2 ounces (1 cup) parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter, optional

1. Bring the broth and water to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cover; turn the burner off but keep the pot on the burner.

2. Heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat until the foaming subsides. Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the rice and 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring constantly, until rice is opaque, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring until the rice nearly completely absorbs all the liquid, about 1 minute.

3. Add 2 cups of the hot stock and stir occasionally until it’s mostly absorbed (the spoon will leave a trail on the bottom of the pan), about 6 minutes. Continue to add stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring frequently, until each addition is absorbed. Cook until rice is creamy but still somewhat firm in center (add more water in 1/2 cup increments if broth/water mixture runs out), 10 to 12 minutes longer. Add peas in last 5 minutes of cooking.

4. Stir in cheese and optional butter. Season with salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve.


  1. Oooh! DH would LOVE this. Sticking it on my list of to-cooks for him! 🙂

  2. I bookmarked this recipe when I saw it on Half-Baked! Yours looks delicious!