spring risotto

I don’t know about this spring business – it is hosing down with rain outside, and all I feel like doing is crawling back into bed and pulling the covers over my head. Instead I have to get myself in a festive mode and shooting Christmas treats! If you feel like hunkering down with a delicious, easy to make dish this week, you could always give this vibrant spring risotto I made for Fairfax a whirl – with a foot in both camps (the left stuck in winter with the right into spring) it brings all the warmth and comfort you need with a contrasting brightness of basil, mint and lemon for a bit of zing. Not many words today – I’m off to get busy in the kitchen – falalalalalala…..

2 cups broad beans
2 tablespoons olive oil
25g butter
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large leek, trimmed, halved lengthways and sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 1/4 cups arborio rice
1/3 cup white wine
7 cups good quality chicken stock
2 zucchini, grated
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
¼ cup picked basil and mint leaves
¼ cup micro greens (optional)
1/3 cup lightly toasted pine nuts

100g buffalo mozzarella or mascarpone

Bring a pot of water to the boil and drop in broad beans. Cook for 3 minutes, drain and refresh in cold water. Slip beans out of the pods and set aside. Heat olive oil in a big, wide saucepan, add onion and leek and cook 10 minutes over a medium heat. Add garlic, cook for 2 minutes, season with salt and pepper and add rice. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes then add wine. Heat stock to a simmer in a separate saucepan. Once most of the wine is absorbed add 2/3 cup of stock. Keep stirring, adding warm stock as it becomes absorbed, ensuring the rice never dries out. After 20 minutes add broad beans and grated zucchini to the rice with the last of the stock (as much as is necessary) and cook a further 5 minutes – the rice should be cooked but not mushy. Remove from the heat and stir through Parmesan and 1/3 cup Mint and Basil Pesto. Serve risotto immediately with a torn chunk of  mozzarella, a dollop of pesto, and a sprinkling of lemon zest, herbs and  pinenuts .

Mint and Basil Pesto
1 1/4 cups packed basil leaves
1 1/4 cups packed mint leaves
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup lightly toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 small (or 1 large) cloves garlic
finely grated zest of 1 small lemon
Whiz all ingredients together in a small food processor and season to taste with salt and pepper.



  1. It is still freezing here in Melbourne as well, but this risotto looks perfect – fresh and spring-like yet warming all at once! Love the colours, and I can imagine the pesto would give a punch of flavour to finish. If you were to add salmon, could you add chopped pieces just before the risotto was finished cooking, or would you cook it separately? Thanks, and have fun in the kitchen today, very envious!! 🙂

    1. Hi Claudia – thanks so much for your message, and yes the pesto does give it a bit of grunt…sometimes risotto can be a bit lacking I think! You could definitely just cook the salmon straight in the risotto, I would pop it in with a few minutes to go – less or more depending on the size of the salmon, but it will take hardly any time to cook. Enjoy!!! 🙂

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