Cooking with Children: Pea Risotto

Sorting Fresh Peas
Shelling Fresh Peas

I have read that having the kids pick out the produce and products increases the likelihood they will eat a balanced and varied meal. Until now, it hadn’t worked for me. But suddenly, it works, and to great effect. I let my son pick the package of Pot Stickers at Costco and magically, he ate a plate-full for dinner whereas before he would not. This past weekend I let them not only pick the peas from the vendor at the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market but also had them help me shell the peas–after the farmer himself showed me how. I encouraged the kidlets to smell what fresh veggies taste like and even try some raw. We made a counting game out of the individual peas in each pod and when I served them up in a creamy risotto with a Niman-ranch bacon-wrapped pork chop–they ate their whole dinner.

Counting the Peas
Counting the Individual Peas


As Plated: Fresh Pea Risotto with Bacon-Wrapped Pork Chop

Rachael’s Fresh Pea Risotto Recipe:
Serves 6

  • 2 cans (14.5 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 TB Olive Oil
  • 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 fresh peas
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesano Reggiano, plus 1/4 cup more for serving


  1. Heat broth and 2 1/2 cups water in a small saucepan over low heat; keep warm. 
  2. Saute onion in about 2 TB olive oil; 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 hot broth, 1 cup at a time (stir until almost all liquid is absorbed before adding more), until rice is tender, 25 to 30 minutes total.
  4. Add peas; cook until peas are bright green, 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in Parmesano Reggiano. Serve, topped with more Parmesan.
    Vendor at the Ferry Building Farmer's Market 11/08
    Vendor at the Ferry Building Farmer's Market




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