This rich and creamy Lemon Risotto with Peas and Mascarpone is sure to impress! Made with lemon juice and zest, luscious mascarpone cheese, peas, and saffron-infused broth, this vegetarian side dish has layers of vibrant flavors everyone will love.Jump to Recipe
Creamy lemon and pea risotto
This Lemon Risotto with Mascarpone and Peas has bright notes of zesty lemon, creamy mascarpone cheese, and is finished with peas and chives. It’s a symphony of flavor!
Risotto is always a hit in my house, whether it’s served on the side of Caprese Chicken or as the main event. As the risotto rice cooks on the stove, it’ll start to soften and tenderize as you add the warm saffron-infused broth. From there, add the brightness! White wine, lemon juice, and tangy mascarpone take this creamy risotto from good to great.
This vibrant meal is perfect for weeknight meals, dinner parties, or holiday celebrations. Want to impress your date? Serve a bowl of lemon risotto with seared scallops and a glass of champagne!
What is risotto?
Risotto is an Italian side or main dish made by cooking Arborio rice and broth with butter, cream, cheese, white wine, and other layers of flavor. It cooks slowly on the stove and requires a lot of stirring, which can be intimidating to many people! This lemon risotto recipe is quite easy and doesn’t involve constant babysitting.
The end result is a thick and creamy pot of lemon pea risotto. The rice should be tender (al dente), bright-tasting, and with a smooth texture.
Lemon risotto ingredients
- Arborio rice – There is no substitute for arborio rice. This short grain, high starch rice is used in almost all traditional risotto recipes. When it’s cooked, that starchy goodness is released and gives you an ultra-creamy and smooth risotto.
- White wine – A dry white wine that you already love to drink is best in lemon risotto. I find Chardonnay to be the most complimentary!
- Stock – Use chicken or vegetable stock. The secret to any perfectly cooked risotto is to use warm stock so it won’t cool the rice, oil, wine, or shallots in the skillet.
- Saffron – Saffron is the world’s most expensive spice. Thankfully, you only need a pinch for this recipe! You can leave it out if you want but it does add a wonderful floral taste and gives the risotto its vibrant yellow color.
- Frozen peas – These add extra texture, nutrition, and bright pops of green.
- Mascarpone cheese – This creamy and smooth Italian cheese is similar to cream cheese but much milder in flavor and richer tasting. It’s stirred into the cooked risotto to give it a lush and creamy texture.
- Lemon – Zested and juiced!
How to make lemon risotto with peas and mascarpone cheese
You’ll know this fresh and bright risotto is ready to eat when it’s thick and creamy like porridge. Test it by running a spoon along the bottom of the skillet. If the risotto flows back slowly to fill this empty space, it’s ready.
- Heat the broth.
Simmer the broth and saffron in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cover the pot with a lid and lower the heat so it can stay warm.
- Saute the shallots.
Add the olive oil and shallots to a large skillet over medium heat. Saute until fragrant and soft.
- Toast the rice and add the wine.
Stir the arborio rice in with the oil and shallots. Leave it to toast for a few minutes, then pour in the white wine.
- Stir in the stock.
Once the wine has been almost fully absorbed, add a ladleful of warm stock at a time. Make sure to stir the rice very well with each ladle.
- Add the peas and finish the risotto.
Add the peas and last ladle of stock at the same time. Let the peas cook and rice absorb all of the stock before turning off the heat and stirring in the mascarpone, parmesan, and lemon. Taste the rice to make sure it’s tender and cooked through, then serve with fresh chives and enjoy!
Make it a meal!
Add any of the following ingredients to your cooked lemon risotto to “beef” it up and transform what was once a vegetarian side dish into a filling meal:
- Chicken breast
- Crispy prosciutto
- Fresh basil
- White beans
- Feta cheese
Frequently asked questions
Yes! Simply replace the white wine with more lemon juice or stock.
The natural lemon flavor of this dish is perfectly suited next to seafood, steak, or chicken. Serve it with my Oven Baked Gremolata Salmon, Salmon Niçoise Salad, Oven Roasted Chicken Thighs, or Garlic Butter Ribeye Steak. Wash it all down with a glass of white wine or champagne!
Risotto is best when it’s fresh off the stove so I don’t recommend making it more than a few minutes ahead of serving.
Keep any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. They’re best reheated in a skillet over medium heat with a splash of warm broth or water to bring it back to its creamy consistency.
More creamy side dishes you’ll love
- Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto
- Creamy Parmesan Polenta
- 5-Ingredient Mashed Cauliflower
- Radicchio Caesar Salad
- Easy Baba Ganoush
Did you try this Lemon Risotto with Peas and Mascarpone? Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below and giving this recipe a rating! Don’t forget to take a picture tag me on Instagram or use #lenaskitchenblog to be featured in my stories! I love seeing what you come up with!
Lemon Risotto with Peas and Mascarpone
- 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 larger shallots peeled and finely diced
- 1/2 cups Chardonnay wine
- 6 cups stock vegetable or chicken
- 1 pinch saffron
- 3/4 cups fresh or frozen peas
- 4 heaping tbps mascarpone cheese
- 1 1/2 cups freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
- 1 large lemon zested and juiced
- 3 tbsp fresh chives finely chopped
- sea salt to taste
- Bring the broth and saffron to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cover and keep the broth warm over the low heat.
- In a large skillet over medium low flame add in the olive oil and shallots, sautée together until translucent.
- Stir in the risotto rice and toss to coat in the oils. Toast for a minute or so then hit it with the white wine. Once the wine has been almost fully absorbed start adding in the stock a ladleful at a time while maintaining a constant gentle simmer. Make sure to stir well every time you add more stock and never let the rice dry out completely before adding more liquid.
- Before you add your last ladle of stock, add in the fresh peas and let them cook for the last few minutes. Should take about 20-25 minutes.
- Turn off heat, scoop out the mascarpone cheese, grate parmesan cheese and zest and juice of the lemon. Mix well until fully combined. Add in the fresh chives.
- Serve with a little extra parmesan cheese and Chardonnay.