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Spring Risotto with Peas and Zucchini

Rich and creamy, risotto is Italian-style comfort food. If you like, you can leave out the wine and replace it with an equal amount of broth.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 6
Spring Risotto with Peas and Zucchini

Source: Everyday Food, April 2004


  • 2 cans (14.5 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 to 2 large zucchini (1 pound), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Heat broth and 2 1/2 cups water in a small saucepan over low heat; keep warm. Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add zucchini; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until zucchini is golden, 8 to 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer zucchini to a plate.

  2. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add onion; cook until soft, 5 minutes. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Raise heat to medium. Add rice; cook, stirring, until translucent around edges, about 3 minutes. Add wine; cook until absorbed, about 2 minutes.

  3. Cook, adding 1 cup hot broth at a time (stir until almost all liquid is absorbed before adding more), until rice is tender, 25 to 30 minutes total.

  4. Add zucchini and peas; cook until peas are bright green, 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in remaining tablespoon butter and Parmesan. Serve, topped with more cheese.

Cook's Note

Because of its high starch content, imported Arborio rice makes the creamiest risotto. If your market doesn't have it, substitute medium- or long-grain white rice.

Reviews (29)

  • ecmother 11 Jun, 2013

    This is an excellent recipe! I modified it a bit with bite-sized pieces of chicken breast, quickly marinated in an olive oil/lemon juice/white wine mix, and a garlic clove thrown in with the onion. My family devoured the results. Perfect for a rainy spring day!!

  • Juliacr 5 Mar, 2013

    Excellent recipe! I make this for two and it lasts us almost a week. For variation I added 1 tsp each of cumin and cayenne pepper and 1/2 tsp each of tumeric and garam masala, but I'm sure this risotto would be lovely with many other spices too.

  • carliebrary 3 Nov, 2011

    This recipe has become a go-to comfort dinner for me. In winter I use roasted asparagus instead of zucchini, and some chopped fresh rosemary. I also find shallot adds a more subtle flavour to this yummy recipe.

  • Jennianydots 4 Aug, 2011

    This recipe is fantastic! It was very simple to make and the payoff was huge! I didn't have enough zucchini, so I added some summer squash. I liked the subtle change in taste that it added.

  • Liketoeat 5 Jun, 2011

    This was a good recipe, very creamy. The next time I might try it w/o the peas. I like peas, but thought it made the dish a tad sweet. I paired this side dish with the Broiled Shrimp Scampi, and it was a good match. Will make this again.

  • haleyfaye 2 May, 2009

    This turned out really delicious! It's very creamy and has great flavor - a definite do again!

  • fan4MS 30 Apr, 2009

    I can't wait to make this, saved it to my collection

  • juliepmb 29 Apr, 2009

    The first time I made this I cut the recipe in half and it turned out great! But when I made the full recipe it ended up a little mushy but still good. A great recipe!

  • redzinner 14 Apr, 2008

    WenchCat: Page 46 of the magazine recipe lists 1/2 cup grated parmesan.

  • WenchCat 13 Apr, 2008

    There is parmesan in the directions...but NOT in the ingredient much should I use. I love the ideas of boiling the chicken and then using that broth instead of store bought...also of the broiling it for a few minutes YUMM

  • burrumbe 10 Apr, 2008

    It sure is a very versatile recipe, rice combines almost with everything. As one of you said, adding cooked shrimps at the end, is really deliciuos.

  • 1Toffy 10 Apr, 2008

    My Husband is Italian,his Mother and Sister taught me to make Risotto (pronounced Risot without the "o" sound) as a main Italian dish boiling a chicken for hours with onions,carrots,celery. True Italian Risotto is a lengthy art. I would add about 1/2 c to this recipe of 1 1/2 c of Rice. Top it off with more as Garnish. I would bake it or broil for a few minutes to lightly brown the cheese.Hope this helps. True Risotto just pass the Parmesan, it's not mixed in the way the family taught me.

  • maggiecompany 10 Apr, 2008

    Add cooked chicken or shrimp at the end for delicious main dish. I also add, gently sauteed cherry tomatoes, baby spinach, grated carrot, broccoli, asparagus, or any combination of vegetables I happen to have at the moment.

  • Gates 9 Apr, 2008

    Ditto conitha's comment--where's the cheese? How much?

  • conitha 9 Apr, 2008

    where is the cheese in the ingred list?

  • NitaM 9 Apr, 2008

    Risotto Tips

  • SanJoseBob 8 Apr, 2008

    To 24ktop
    Sure! if you boil the chicken, just use the broth that you boil the chicken in. Homemade broth is better anyway, you control the saltyness.

  • marleyagility 8 Apr, 2008

    Regarding the substitution of broth that is not low sodium. The liquid reduces while the rice is cooking. If you use a regular sodium broth (meant to be heated and consumed, not reduced), the finished dish will be very salty. Using a low sodium broth allows you control the amount of salt in the dish.

  • 24ktop 8 Apr, 2008

    Has anyone made this with broth that is not low sodium? (I really don't care for low sodium products) And what about chicken breast added? Any thoughts?

  • asteiner13 8 Apr, 2008

    How much Parmesan - or just what you like?

  • minicaretti 8 Apr, 2008

    Tess: if you plan to add some shrimp (a very good addition indeed :), just leave out the parmigiano and use a veggie broth. A sprinkle of fresh flat-leaf parsley will tie everything up very nicely.

  • minicaretti 8 Apr, 2008

    a perfect, very Italian way to make risotto! I would only use a wider pan, it helps liquid to evaporate more evenly and you don't risk to overcook the rice. I would also take it away from the heat when it's still a little bit "wavy" (that's the way we say in Italy), that is not completely dry, add butter and parmigiano, stir once and let rest for a couple of minutes, covered. After that, you will find any excess broth has been absorbed, butter and cheese have melt and all the flavours sing :)

  • typark 8 Apr, 2008

    I am wondering how this would be with some shrimp added to it. This would make it a more 1 dish meal.


  • geritaran 8 Apr, 2008

    Substituting Organic Vegetable Broth for the chicken broth makes a luscious vegetarian version. I also recommend adding saffron. It adds that certain touch of flavor as well as color. Additionally, grated Asiago cheese boosts it even more.

  • marjoriess 8 Apr, 2008

    Parmesan cheese is essential to the yummy taste and consistency. Although it's mentioned in step 4, it's not on the ingredient list. Don't forget to incude it on your shopping list.

  • phylte 8 Apr, 2008

    Any leftovers (if there are some!) make a delicious risotto cake if dipped lightly in Panko crumbs and lightly sauteed in olive oil. Use it as a base for chunky roasted fish (halibut) and drizzle with a red pepper puree made from roasted red peppers. the best olive oil and seasoning to taste.

  • kitchenqueen 8 Apr, 2008

    I'm going to try this tomorrow night, I'm wondering aboiut the wine you mentioned to aacopany the dish, is the name of it Torrontes, or is that the vinyard? Thanks Coleen
    ps. am in florida too, arent publics grocery a wonderful find!!

  • kaholsberry 8 Apr, 2008

    That sounds delicision misslucypetunia! Both the wine and the vegis.

  • misslucypetunia 4 Apr, 2008

    This will be much better with your own chicken broth. I served this last night with asparagus, zucchini and carrots instead of the traditional peas and it was delicious. Served with a nice Argentinian white wine, Torrontes, which tasted like spring as well.

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