like peas & carrots

That’s how our dinner and spring go together, and tonight quite literally! With Easter celebrations just behind us, do you now have 4+ pounds of leftover ham in your possession? How about a savory starch that will go perfectly alongside? If you’re not stuck with a mountain of baked ham, not to worry, this recipe can still be savored on its awesome own. We’re making a creamy risotto using white  wine and parmesan cheese. Oh, but we’re not stopping there! We’re going to dial-up this dish with fresh peas, transforming them into a simple pesto,  and pairing our lovely legumes with sweet, petite roasted carrots. Peas & carrots? You might be thinking it’s a match made in vegetable . . . umm, hell. I can just picture it, the dreaded lunch side of peas & carrot chunks, floating in a mysterious watery pool—every school kid’s nightmare! Mine included, but our dinner doesn’t have to be a canned veggie disaster—tonight our vegetables will be delicious atop a beautiful bed of risotto.

5 from 1 reviews
Risotto with Spring Pea Pesto & Roasted Carrots
Here is a delicious risotto of white wine and parmesan, perfect or spring with the addition of a quick & easy fresh pea pesto, and roasted petite carrots. A vibrant & satisfying dinner idea!
Serves: ~5 dinner servings
Prep time: 
Total time: 
What to get:
For Risotto:
  • 1.5 cups Arborio rice
  • 6 cups Chicken stock (low-sodium)
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp lemon zest
  • ¾ cup sweet white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ⅔ cup dry white wine
  • ¼ cup butter (unsalted)
  • ⅔ cup shredded parmesan cheese blend
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Black pepper (finely ground), to taste
For the Spring Pea Pesto:
  • 1 cup fresh English peas, shelled from pods
  • 1.5 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • ⅛ tsp lemon zest
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), for drizzing in pesto, ~3T
  • 1T water
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Black pepper (finely ground), to taste
For Carrots:
  • 6 oz bag of petite carrots (trimmed & peeled)
  • 2T butter, unsalted
  • ¼ tsp white wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Pinch of white sugar
What to do:
Make Spring Pea Pesto & Skillet Roast Carrots:
  1. Shell & steam one cup fresh English peas (steam until just tender, immediately cooling the peas in a bowl of ice water, drain and set aside).
  2. In a food processor or blender, place ⅔ cup of the steamed peas, water, garlic clove, lemon zest, pinch of salt, pinch of pepper, spinach and purée, slowly drizzling in EVOO until a smooth pesto forms (taste test for salt level), set aside.
  3. For carrots, in s small skillet with fitting lid, melt the 2T butter and add the white wine vinegar, few Tablespoons of the white wine, pinch salt, pepper & sugar.
  4. Arrange peeled carrots in a single layer in sauce, cover and cook on low for ~8 mins.
  5. Remove lid and move carrots around in sauce, continuing to cook until tender on medium-low, adding the rest of the white wine as needed to deglaze pan & keep from being completely dry.
  6. When carrots tested with a fork are tender, they are done, remove from het & wrap in foil to keep warm.
Begin Risotto:
  1. In a medium sauce pan, warm the 6 cups of chicken stock on low, you will use for risotto.
  2. In a large rimmed skillet, pot or enameled dutch oven, melt ¼ cup of butter, and sauté onion and garlic, adding a pinch of salt and pepper, stirring occasionally for several minutes.
  3. To pan, stir in the dry rice, stirring frequently, toast rice for about 1-2 minutes on medium.
  4. Add the ⅔ cup white wine, 1 tsp lemon juice and zest, continue to cook rice until most of this liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently.
  5. Add in 1 cup of the warm stock and let incorporate, stirring frequently, until liquid continues to absorb.
  6. Repeat with 1 cup of broth about every 10 minutes, continuing to stir (after each cup of broth is absorbed, check tenderness level, you may not need all 6 cups of liquid).
  7. Once the rice has absorbed enough liquid & is tender to taste, reduce skillet to low and stir-in the shredded parmesan cheese, adding salt & pepper to desired taste.
  8. Warm pea pesto in small sauce pan on stove, and warm carrots (as necessary).
  9. Serve warm risotto over a spooned layer of the pea pesto, drizzling a little more on top, then adding a spoonful of the leftover steamed peas (1/3 cup we didn’t use for pesto) and finally a few of the roasted carrots.
This is easy to make, though it is very hands-on by the stove, as the risotto needs continuous stirring and additions of stock. The pea pesto is quick & easy, and can be made ahead. The carrots cook alongside on the stove and the cook time may very depending on size. (I use a lid to make them go faster, but it isn’t required, though they might take longer to become tender). Peas and carrots go perfectly on this risotto, no meat needed, but you can add a protein alongside.

Sorry childhood canned-vegetable-medley, you’ve been replaced!risotto & spring pea pesto - 58

I envisioned making a bright dish capturing this classic veggie combo, and felt risotto would be the perfect platform. I had originally planned to add whole peas from the pod, but then on a whim I combined them with a surplus of spinach in my fridge, and from that a savory pesto was born. This made for the a vibrant sauce to plate the creamy rice on, giving the meal that little extra something. Considering the weekend’s chocolate egg/jelly bean binge, it’s time to get some greens back in the routine. The carrots were tender, adding a healthy contrast. I think a little crisped pancetta would work well here too. This can also become vegetarian if we skip the chicken stock (instead using water and more salt in the risotto); though, the stock added the perfect flavor for my taste!

Just like Forrest Gump felt about his Jenny, spring is the perfect time to put these two sweet ingredients, together. risotto & spring pea pesto - 12

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Thank you for visiting the dinnervine! In the words of Julia Child, "People who love to eat, are always the best people," and I couldn't agree more. I hope you enjoy these dishes as much as I did making them. Here's to creating new recipes and memories with friends & family, cheers! 

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