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Spring Pea and Watercress Risotto

Serves 4


  • 1 pound fresh spring peas
  • 1/2 yellow onion, julienned
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds fresh or frozen spring peas
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 cup Arborio rice, sorted & rinsed
  • 2 quarts chicken stock (or water), hot
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon pepper
  • 1 cup pecorino cheese
  • 2 cup watercress
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chiffonade


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon each butter and olive oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add yellow onion and sauté until fragrant.
  3. Add peas and continue to sauté until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes.
  4. Remove the contents from the pan; add the remaining butter and olive oil.
  5. Add the garlic and shallot, sauté until fragrant.
  6. Add the Arborio rice to the garlic and shallot and combine well.
  7. To cook the risotto, add stock 1 cup at a time and let it cook out before adding next cup.
  8. When the risotto is nearly finished, add the salt, pepper and Pecorino to the rice. The risotto will seize up a bit from the cheese—add a little more stock if necessary.
  9. Return the peas and watercress to the pan and toss to combine.

I think that peas are underestimated because a lot of the time, people associate them with either frozen peas or baby food. But fresh peas are amazing—you can eat them almost raw. Spring peas happen to be one of my favorites. So, as a chef, being able to highlight an ingredient such as peas with a traditional Italian recipe and showcase both—it’s a great marriage.

Hudson Valley Restaurant Week is back this April 8-21!