Fresh, sweet peas combined with luxurious fat grains of rice makes for an exceptional spring dish, with just enough heartiness if the weather isn’t yet that warm. For the pea pod stock, blanching the pods is essential to transform their bitter raw taste into a beautiful clean pea flavour.






Skill level

Average: 4.1 (24 votes)


For the pea stock

  • 350 g (12 oz) fresh pea pods, shelled, shells reserved (use the shells for the stock and the peas for the purée and vegetables)
  • 350 ml (12 fl oz) iced water

For the pea purée

  • 100 g (3½ oz) fresh peas (shelled weight)
  • 10 g unsalted butter

For the risotto

  • ½ onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp refined olive oil (or 30 g (1 oz) unsalted butter)
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely grated
  • 200 g (7 oz) carnaroli rice
  • 100 ml (3½ fl oz) white wine, plus extra to finish (optional)
  • 40 g (1½ oz) freshly grated parmesan (or a similar vegetarian hard cheese)
  • ¼ lemon, juiced
  • 50 ml (2 fl oz) extra virgin olive oil (or 50 g (1¾ oz) unsalted butter)

For the vegetables

  • 5 g unsalted butter
  • 120 g (4 oz) baby zucchini (courgettes), cut into 2 mm slices
  • 140 g (5 oz) fresh peas (shelled weight)
  • 40 g (1½ oz) French breakfast radish, sliced
  • 40 g (1½ oz) radish tops
  • 40 g (1½ oz) baby spinach leaves
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For serving

  • 15 g (½ oz) pea shoots, blanched in boiling water for 5 seconds
  • 20 g (¾ oz) parmesan shavings (or a similar vegetarian hard cheese)

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


For the pea stock, in a large pan of simmering water, blanch the pea pod shells for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, remove the blanched shells and refresh them in the iced water. (This keeps the colour and freshness.)

Once cooled, blend the iced water and pea pods in a food processor until smooth. Strain through a fine sieve. Set aside 100 ml (3½ fl oz) to make the pea purée and the remaining 500 ml (18 fl oz) to make the risotto. (Add water to make the volume up to 500 ml (18 fl oz) if necessary.)

For the pea purée, in a small saucepan on medium heat, cook the peas in the butter for 5 minutes, adding a pinch of salt. Add the 100 ml (3½ fl oz) reserved pea stock, bring to a boil and simmer for 4 minutes. Transfer to a blender or food processor, blend until smooth and leave to cool.

For the risotto, in a medium saucepan on low heat, gently fry the onion in the olive oil with a pinch of salt for 2 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic. Stir in the rice and continue to cook for 3 minutes, until the grains appear shiny (this will give flavour and prevent them sticking together).

Pour in the wine, then 500 ml (18 fl oz) reserved pea stock, stir and bring to the gentlest simmer with only one bubble breaking the surface every minute. Season with salt and pepper then cover with a lid and cook for 20 minutes. Check every now and again that it is not boiling.

After 20 minutes examine a grain of rice and check for a tiny speck of white starch in the middle. This means the risotto is nearly cooked. Stir the rice quickly for 5 minutes to achieve a creamy consistency.

Stir in 200 ml (7 fl oz) cooled pea purée and the parmesan. Season to taste and set aside.

For the vegetables, in a small saucepan on high heat, bring the butter, 50 ml (2 fl oz) water and a pinch of salt to the boil. Add the zucchini, cover with a lid and cook for 30 seconds, then add the peas, radishes, radish tops and spinach, cover again and cook for 20 seconds. Drain and set aside.

To finish the risotto, stir in the lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Add a dash of white wine to sharpen the flavour if desired.

Serve the risotto in a large dish topped with the vegetables, blanched pea shoots and a few shavings of parmesan.


Royal Gardens On A Plate starts 8.35pm Thursday 12 January on SBS, then catch it on SBS On Demand.