Greg DuPree
Hands-On Time
1 Hour
Total Time
1 Hour
4 servings

This creamy Parmesan risotto with peas recipe is a modern take on the classic Italian method. Instead of arborio rice (a starchy short-grain rice that is traditionally used), you’ll use pearl barley. Cooked in Parmesan broth and finished with a hefty serving of Parmesan, this pea risotto is comfort food made elegant. Plus, there are two servings of peas—both fresh English peas and pea tendrils on top. You’ll use ½ cup of white wine in the recipe, so why not pick out an extra nice bottle to serve alongside this pea risotto? It’s worthy of company or date night.

How to Make It

Step 1

Fill a large bowl with ice water. Cook peas in a pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Transfer to ice water to cool; drain.

Step 2

Bring broth, 2½ cups water, Parmesan rind, and bay leaf to a simmer in a large pot. Keep warm over low heat.

Step 3

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large saucepan over medium. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add barley and ¼ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, until lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring, until absorbed, about 30 seconds.

Step 4

Stir 1 cup warm broth into barley and cook, stirring, until liquid is nearly absorbed, about 5 minutes. Continue cooking, adding ½ cup warm broth at a time, stirring until liquid is nearly absorbed after each addition, until barley is tender, about 40 minutes. (You should have ½ cup broth remaining.) Remove Parmesan rind and bay leaf. Stir in peas, pepper, 1 cup grated Parmesan, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt.

Step 5

Cook, stirring, until peas are tender, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in remaining ½ cup broth. Top with pea shoots and remaining ½ cup Parmesan. Drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons oil.

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