Rating: 3.5 stars
2 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 1
  • 4 star values: 0
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 1
  • 1 star values: 0

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.


Credit: Greg DuPree

Recipe Summary

1 hr
1 hr
4 servings


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • 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.

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Nutrition Facts

691 calories; fat 30.5g; saturated fat 11.2g; cholesterol 49.3mg; carbohydrates 78.9g; sugars 7.4g; protein 26.7g; sodium 2062.3mg; fiber 16g.