Lemon Risotto with Green Garlic and Fava Beans


Confession: the rice used to make this risotto has been sitting in my cabinet for oh, about a year. Allow me to backtrack. In culinary school, we learned to make risotto. Lots of risotto. Pans and pans of it, in fact, until we achieved what Chef deemed worthy of his fork. We chopped. We sweated (both the onions and ourselves). We stirred. And stirred. Until, wait, yes, our rice reached creamy perfection.

I don’t make risotto much these days.

And I really don’t know why. Despite it’s reputation, it’s really quite easy – if you are patient. See, you can’t rush the rice. You must slow down and cast the notion of a ‘fast easy dinner’. Truth be told, it is quite fast, about 30 minutes from start to finish. But you must stir.

This springy, lemony risotto was inspired by the long stalks of green garlic found this time of year. I love its mellow flavor, the perfect accompaniment to earthy fava beans, herbs and fresh peas.

I’d say it’s worthy of my fork.

Lemon Risotto with Green Garlic and Fava Beans
Serves 4


  • 1/2 cup shelled fresh fava beans
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 small yellow onion or 1 large shallot, finely minced
  • 1 large green garlic stalk, trimmed, white and light green parts finely chopped
  • 1 cup Arborio or Carnaroli rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup peas, frozen, defrosted or blanched fresh
  • 2 tablespoons grated Pecorino
  • Juice and zest from 1 lemon
  • For garnish: chopped fresh dill and mint


  1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add fava beans and blanch for 1 minute. Drain and transfer to a bowl of ice water.  Drain and peel. Set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a simmer. Keep warm.
  3. In a medium skillet or pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and green garlic, stirring until softened and translucent You do not want the vegetables to brown.
  4. Add the rice and stir until translucent, about a minute.
  5. Add the wine and cook until evaporated. Ladle about 1 cup of broth into the skillet. Cook, stirring constantly, until broth is absorbed. Add another cup of broth, and continue to stir until absorbed, adding more stock for the next 20 minutes or so. Don’t worry if you don’t use all of the broth.
  6. When the risotto is al dente and creamy, remove from heat and fold in butter, fava beans, peas and pecorino. Stir in lemon juice and zest to taste.
  7. Garnish with chopped fresh dill, mint and bit more lemon zest.

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