Risotto with Saffron, Seafood and Peas

 

I have always been a good eater.  My mother never had to worry about me cleaning my plate when I was a child.  Contrary to my youngest sister who had an aversion to cheese and whose favorite meal was a bowl of Froot Loops, I liked most everything…well, except vanilla ice cream.  I didn’t understand the appeal of plain vanilla when chocolate was the other option.

I’ve since outgrown my dislike for it but I had another peculiar habit.  As much as I have always loved peas, I would always pick out the last few pieces from my plate towards the end of the meal and not eat them.  It never failed–as the meal progressed, pleasure would turn to near-disgust at the thought of having to eat another harmless pea.

 

 

Fortunately, like my early dislike for vanilla ice cream, I outgrew the silly pea habit.  When I spotted fresh English peas at the farmers market last week I promptly filled a bag with one dish in mind.  I planned to serve a simple risotto with peas as a side dish to grilled chicken but when the latter didn’t happen I went to Plan B and made this version instead.

What was intended as a side dish turned into a complete one-pot meal with the addition of saffron and seafood.  Think Risi e Bisi (Venetian rice and peas) meets Risotto alla Milanese (Risotto with saffron) and  seafood paella.  It may sound like a confused mash up of three classics but with less than six degrees of separation in their ingredients, this risotto dish actually ended up quite satisfying.  The best part was that it was no harder to prepare than any of the three dishes separately.

And guess what?  I ate every last pea.

 

 

5.0 from 10 reviews
Risotto with Saffron, Seafood and Peas
 
Saffron, mixed seafood and fresh English peas come together to please your taste buds in this paella-inspired risotto.
Author:
Recipe type: Main, Side
Ingredients
  • 4½ cups broth (vegetable or chicken)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1½ cups arborio rice
  • ⅔ cup white wine
  • ½ cup peas (I used fresh English peas but frozen would be okay, too)
  • 1-2 pinches saffron
  • ½ pound seafood (I used combination shrimp, bay scallops and calamari)
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan
  • Chopped scallions for garnish
  • Juice of approx ½ lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Bring the broth to a simmer over medium-hight heat and add the saffron. Cover and keep warm.
  2. To pre-cook the seafood: add to the simmering stock and cook for about 3 minutes or until the meat is just cooked-through. This may take less or longer than three minutes depending on the size of the seafood you use. You can add the seafood to the stock at any time as you prepare the risotto. Just don't forget to remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside so the meat doesn't get tough.
  3. To prepare the risotto: Heat the butter and olive oil over medium-high heat in large pan. Add the onions and cook for 3-4 minutes until they're no longer translucent. Add the rice and cook for another 3 minutes until they're toasted. Add the wine and cook for another 1-2 minutes until almost all the liquid has been absorbed.
  4. Turn the heat down to medium or medium-low and add ½ - ¾ cup stock to the rice. Cook, stirring frequently, until almost all the liquid has been absorbed. This will take 5-6 minutes. Repeat this process, adding ½ cup stock at a time until the rice is tender. Season the rice with salt and pepper as needed between additions of stock.
  5. When you have about 1 cup of stock left, test the rice for doneness. It should be almost ready at this point. Add ½ - ¾ cup of the remaining stock along with the peas and cheese. You can also add the lemon juice at this point. Stir to combine, cover and reduce heat to low. After a couple of minutes, remove the cover and test the rice. Both the rice and peas should be tender by this time. If your risotto looks dry, add the remaining stock. Risotto has a tendency to dry out so you can save any unused stock to add to leftovers before reheating if you have any. Garnish with chopped scallions before serving.

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. Love the vibrancy of this dish, Jean! Can’t wait to try it since I love paella, risotto, saffron & peas! :)

  2. gorgeous color!

  3. Peter @Feed Your Soul says:

    love risotto and love this recipe. really nice job on the plating too.

  4. I love the color that saffron gives to risotto milanese, what a great combination of the classics!

  5. What a scrumptious risotto! Beautiful photos.

  6. I love the combination of the 3 classics! I’m sure this would be a winner in our house any day =)

  7. A delicious combination and dish! So colorful.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  8. Tis dish is so pretty and colorful. It looks wonderful!

  9. Jean, glad you outgrew all your aversions – hehe! It’s funny how things change eh? I used to HATE all kinds of veggies – because our kusinera (cook) always overcooked them and I didn’t like the colour and texture! But now, I adore green veggies, once I understood how to cook them well!

    Your risotto – mash-up or not – looks fantastic! I know I’d be licking every last pea and golden riso!

  10. So vibrant and colourful. Yummy!

  11. Oh my goodness…those are the flavors that i adore in risotto! Beautiful presentation and photography!

  12. I didn’t see when you added the saffron to the dish and I want to make this tonight! Please help :)
    Sometimes I have trouble getting it to dissolve so this would be helpful….Thanks!

    • lemonsandanchovies says:

      Elissa, thanks so much for your comment! Gosh, I left out an important step.

      I added the saffron to the broth. I simply stirred it in after heating it up. The saffron floated to the surface at first but in no time at all the saffron infused the broth a bright yellow.

      Please let me know how this recipe turns out for you. :)

  13. Love this risotto and the photos are making drool. Wish I could eat this tonight. Have a wonderful weekend Jean. Love the dishes and pea photo!

  14. You are so funny. You were like every parent’s dream child! Luckily my kids are pretty good eater, but they will not “happily” eat peas… I wasn’t a big Vanilla fan either until I had REALLY good vanilla ice cream when I became adult. What a fabulous risotto. And I even more fell in love with your presentation. I want this blue board every where in my house. Make me feel so happy!

    • lemonsandanchovies says:

      I think that was the problem for me, too. My first taste of vanilla ice cream wasn’t very good. Now I love it! :)

      Glad you like the blue board! It’s one of my favorites right now for the very same reason–it makes me happy each time I look at it. Reminds me of being in the ocean. :)

  15. I love the combination of prawns, peas and rice. The textures and flavors match perfectly.

  16. This risotto looks amazing! And I love your photos!

  17. Lovely, lovely! The shrimp and calamari look fabulous.

    • lemonsandanchovies says:

      Thanks, Sommer! They were so easy to use in this risotto as I cooked them in the stock. :)

  18. WOW these colors just pop off the screen! Love the blue board with the vibrant yellow of the saffron. This recipe looks supreme. I love peas too and iwth the English peas I eat them like candy and typically they don’t make it to a dish. Happy Saturday!!!

  19. Yummy! I have to try this!

  20. My mom had to run behind me every single day. Food was never my friend until very recently :)
    Love the addition of saffron in risotto, it gave such a lovely color!

  21. Yup, I LOVE this marriage of 3 dishes…now if you could just send the rest of that pop my way, I’d be very happy! Hope you’re having a lovely weekend~

  22. I love everything about this post. The colors are so appealing. And well, saffron is one of my favorite ingredients and this risotto seems like a winner. I’m still waiting to overcome my aversion to milk. Maybe there’s hope for me too? Glad you did with peas & vanilla ice cream.

  23. I love the combination of flavors and colors in your risotto.

  24. i love love the vibrate color the saffron gave to the risotto. And the photo of the pea, WOW, now I’m really jealous of your camera. Wish mine was that good :(

  25. Jean, your risotto is exactly what I am craving on this lazy Sunday. I’m hungry right now, after a late breakfast… if only I could get a hold of your real risotto right this minute, instead of just your photographs! :) Haha. Hope you are enjoying a wonderful weekend! We are having fabulous weather down in So.Cal. Hope you guys up north are too!

  26. No butter and parm to finish the risotto at the end? I also must respectfully disagree with you regarding the rice: A risotto should have the arborio cooked until al dente, not tender.

    • lemonsandanchovies says:

      Poor choice of words on my part? I don’t ever overcook my risotto so it does still have a little bite when I turn off the heat. :)

      I did top my plate with additional parm but no butter. :)

  27. What a gorgeous color! I have never been a fan of peas! I can eat them if they are just a few mixed in to something, but just peas? NEVER! But this risotto sounds amazing with the seafood and the saffron, yum!

  28. Hi Jean,

    The risotto looks amazing!! I love the combination here. I can only eat fresh peas like the ones in your recipe. If they are canned and frozen I won’t touch them. So like you I would eat all the peas in the risotto. Your photos are gorgeous:)

  29. Glad you came around to peas. We are a family of pea-lovers – even at a young age my daughter asked for extra peas in her fried rice! A perfect dish in my eyes :)

  30. Mmmmm looks fab. I love the color saffron gives to food.

  31. Love this recipe. Can’t wait to make it again! Thanks so much. I didn’t have saffron, so, I used turmeric. Of course I had to adjust the amount. Also, I used mussels instead of calamari. I decided to wait until the the rice was almost done and added the seafood to the rice instead of cooking it in the broth. I love how the mussels “suck” the rice inside as they open.

  32. What a delightful risotto…love that gorgeous color!

  33. This sounds absolutely delicious! Just curious, is there any way that I can substitute the wine for something else? If so, what with?

    Thanks!

    • lemonsandanchovies says:

      Hi, Taby. Feel free to omit the wine and sub additional stock in its place. It should work just fine. Please let me know how it goes if you try the recipe. :)

  34. I was checking the comments looking for an opinion of someone, who actually tried this recipe, but found only: “OMG, this looks great!” posts. So here it comes: I made it, the first risotto in my life. It was absolutely delicious and fun to prepare. Thank you!

    • Paulina, what a very nice comment you’ve left me. Thank you so much for trying out my recipe. I’m so glad you liked it! Congrats on your first risotto!!

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