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Green Pea Risotto with Scallops and Parmesan

Geoffrey Zakarian's Green Pea Risotto
Geoffrey Zakarian's Green Pea RisottoNathan Congleton / TODAY


Pea purée
  • 2 cups green peas
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Vegetable stock, as needed
  • Risotto
  • 5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup diced white onion
  • 2 cups Italian Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup fresh green peas
  • Sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons green pea puree (recipe above)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Sherry vinegar
  • Scallops
  • Sea salt
  • 8 large sea scallops
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • To serve
  • Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Pea shoots
  • Chef notes

    A seasonal risotto is one of my favorite ways to celebrate spring. The sweetness of the scallops and freshness of the green peas are the perfect flavors to welcome the warming weather.

    Technique tip: It is important to stir the risotto throughout the cooking process with a wooden spatula. This will ensure even absorption of the liquid and prevent the rice from sticking. Don't use cold chicken broth — make sure it's warmed up! — or else it'll mess up the timing of the risotto.


    For the pea purée:


    Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Set up a bowl of ice water.


    Boil the peas for 1 minute in the water then transfer them immediately to the iced water.


    Drain the peas on a paper towel then place them in a blender. Add seasoning and olive oil and blend until smooth. You may need to add a bit of cold stock to achieve the desired consistency.

    For the risotto:


    Bring the chicken stock to a boil, then reduce to a very low simmer. Do not let it reduce.


    Add half the butter to a pan set over medium-low heat. Add the chopped onion and cook without browning.


    Add the rice and stir for 3 minutes, then pour in the white wine and let simmer until it evaporates completely.


    Add a ladle of stock to the rice and cook at gentle simmering, stirring frequently. When the rice has absorbed all the liquid, add more chicken stock. Repeat the process five or six times. Halfway through cooking, add the raw green peas. Season with salt to taste.


    After about 18 minutes of cooking, the rice should be cooked. Add the remaining butter, olive oil, green pea purée, and the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano while stirring constantly. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.

    For the scallops:

    Season the scallops with salt.

    Heat the butter in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the scallops and sear for 2 minutes on each side. Finish with a splash of lemon juice.

    To serve:

    Take 4 warm bowls and place 3 tablespoons of green pea risotto in the center of each. Top with 2 sea scallops, sprinkle with shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, garnish with pea shoots and serve.