While risotto can have a bad reputation due to the amount of patience it might require, I’m here to assure you that it is actually easy to execute, and with a few pro tips, you’ll be impressing friends and family left and right.
Risotto, with its creamy texture and versatility in adding a variety of vegetables, can be a “fridge clean out meal” made elegant. A holiday side dish to grilled steaks, or a flavorful vegetarian main dish. Not to mention this mushroom and pea version delivers a rich, deep umami flavor that will WOW everyone!
What is Risotto?
Risotto is made with arborio rice which is Italian short-grain rice. The rice is cooked slowly in broth until it becomes ultra-creamy. It’s often made with a base of onion, garlic, white wine, and parmesan cheese. A heavenly combination.
Risotto gets a bad rap because it’s perceived to be high maintenance. Requiring constant stirring and attention to get the just-right texture.
While yes, you do want to stir it quite often, it’s not as finicky as you might expect. You can step away for a minute, and return to keep stirring. It’s a matter of letting the rice absorb the liquid evenly.
Besides, what’s better than a glass of wine in one hand and a spoon stirring risotto in the other? Nothing, nothing I tell you!
Ingredients for Mushroom Pea Risotto
Risotto is such a versatile recipe, and while this mushroom and pea version obviously uses those two vegetables, it’s important to note that it’s easy to add in others or substitute as needed.
Please be sure to see the full recipe card below for ingredient amounts and full instructions.
- Arborio Rice: the rice that is key for risotto because of its starchy content that results in a creamy risotto texture, similar to pasta. Do not substitute another type of rice.
- Vegetable Broth or Stock: be sure to take note of the amount of salt depending on if you’re using broth or stock. This liquid is what the rice absorbs, so the flavor in vegetable broth/stock opposed to just water is key!
- Yellow Onion: the sweet, mild flavor is perfect!
- Garlic: I recommend using a garlic press so the finely minced garlic is infused throughout the dish.
- Baby Bella Mushrooms: honestly, you can use any mushrooms you have, can find, or prefer! Try shiitake, portobello, oyster, and more!
- Dry White Wine: wine is added for both flavor and acidity, which balances out the richness of the finished risotto. If you don’t want to use wine, I recommend adding a splash of vinegar or lemon juice (not 1:1 though!). I like to use Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc.
- Sweet Peas: use frozen peas for ease. Fresh will work as well if you have them available.
- Butter & Parmesan: while Arborio rice is what makes risotto creamier, I tend to make things extra indulgent with a little butter and parmesan cheese.
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How to Make Vegetarian Risotto
Like any good risotto, mushroom pea risotto starts with diced yellow onion sauteeing in olive oil (you could use butter, too!).
For the mushroom risotto, the mushrooms go in next to begin their browning process. Once the mushrooms are tender and have released a lot of their liquid, stir in the garlic, some salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes for a bit of a kick.
You will layer in flavor by adding salt throughout the cooking process as the vegetables saute. A pinch here and a pinch there go a long way!
Next up: add arborio rice (pictures 1 and 2). Stir it until it’s combined with the mushrooms and onion, and until it’s completely coated. This step allows the rice to get a bit toasty and ready to start soaking up the…WINE!
Add the wine to the pan, which will both deglaze the pan and give the rice a minute to soak up that goodness (remember, it’s adding both flavor and some acid). Don’t forget to have a glass of wine in hand, too – it is truly part of the risotto making process!
The process of risotto is all about the rice absorbing the liquid little by little. This means that you’ll add vegetable broth tin about half cup amounts, stirring until the rice absorbs the liquid each time. It will continue to cook (picture 4). Once each bit is absorbed, add a bit more.
Once almost all 4 cups of the broth have been added and the liquid is absorbed (picture 5) start taste testing. The rice will likely have a little bite to it still, indicating it needs more time. If needed, add more liquid until the rice is cooked to al dente, then move on.
Once the rice is al dente, stir in the pats of butter and parmesan cheese (picture 6). While risotto is naturally creamy on its own, this pair delivers the ultimate creamy, rich texture that all risottos should have (IMO).
That’s it! The risotto is done and done! Top with extra parm and a bit of parsley and dinner is served.
What to Serve with Risotto
Risotto can be a meal on its own, as it often is in my house. Serve it with a nice green side salad for some extra greens and balance and away you go.
For the meat-eaters in your life, risotto is the perfect side for a nice steak, fish like salmon or crispy cod, or lobster main. Pan-Seared Scallops are another winner and are gorgeous when plated on top of the risotto, as well as an easy shrimp recipe.
Looking for more risotto recipes? Try these!
- Spring Vegetable Risotto
- Corn and Proscuitto Risotto
- Parmesan Kale Risotto
- Creamy Carrot Leek Risotto
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!
Get the Recipe Creamy Mushroom Pea Risotto
- 4-6 cups vegetable broth
- 3 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup yellow onion, finely diced
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- Dash of red pepper flakes
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 12-14 oz. baby bella mushrooms, or mushrooms of choice
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 cup sweet peas, fresh or frozen
- 1 cup parmesan cheese*, freshly shredded, more for garnish
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
- To clean mushrooms: wet half of a towel (that you don't mind getting dirty) and ring it out so it's just damp. You can also use a paper towel. Place the mushrooms on the towel and rub to remove the dirt. You do not want to rinse the mushrooms, they will absorb all the water and therefore won't absorb all of the yummy flavors you'll be cooking them in!
- Add the vegetable broth to a medium saucepan and heat over medium-low to warm. You'll add the warmed broth to the risotto later on.
- Heat a large stockpot or dutch oven over medium heat and add the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add onions and sauté for approximately 2 minutes. Add minced garlic and sauté for another minute. Add in a dash of red pepper flakes (as desired) and season with salt and pepper to begin layering in the flavor. You will want to check the salt level throughout the cooking process (and remember that the parmesan will add more salt at the end, too).
- Add the mushrooms to the stockpot and sauté for 4-6 minutes until browned and tender. Then, add the rice to the stockpot and stir until coated with mushroom and onion mixture. Deglaze the pan with white wine and continue stirring until it is mostly absorbed; about 1-2 minutes.
- To make the risotto, you will continue adding additional broth, approximately 1/2 cup at a time, stirring between each addition, until the liquid is absorbed. After you have poured in approximately 3 1/2 cups of broth total, test the rice for doneness. This will give you a baseline for how much more broth you need to add. I usually use around 4 cups total, however, you may need more. The goal is al dente rice, similar to pasta: do not want the rice to be crunchy and want to avoid it becoming mushy. Continue adding broth 1/2 cup at a time and testing the rice until it has reached the al dente point and has lost any "crunch".
- Once you have al dente rice, add the peas and stir to combine. Remove from heat; stir in the parmesan and butter until melted and incorporated. Serve risotto and garnish with parsley and additional parmesan as desired.
This recipe is part of our Date Night Recipes to Love roundup. Check it out!