Chefs' Recipes

Fico's pea risotto with buffalo mozzarella and spring herbs

This bright pea risotto recipe is the perfect way to welcome spring - and it hails from one of our favourite Hobart restaurants, Fico.

By Oskar Rossi & Federica Andrisani
  • 40 mins preparation
  • 20 mins cooking
  • Serves 4
  • Print
"The pea risotto at Fico in Hobart is the best I've had. Could you please print the recipe?" - Alasdair Lyne, Battery Point, Tas
To request a recipe, email or send us a message via Facebook. Please include the restaurant's name and address, as well as your name and address. Please note that because of the volume of requests we receive, we can only publish a selection in the magazine.Use the best herbs you can find for this dish - the key to success here is variety and freshness. At Fico, the chefs use a beer vinegar from Emilia-Romagna; we've used Champagne vinegar.


  • 1 kg peas, podded, shells reserved
  • 80 ml olive oil (⅓ cup)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 100 gm carnaroli rice
  • 150 ml dry white wine
  • 600 ml mozzarella whey (see note), heated
  • 40 gm chilled butter, diced
  • 40 gm Parmigiano-Reggiano (preferably 36 months old), finely grated plus extra to serve
  • ⅓ buffalo mozzarella ball, blended until smooth, plus extra torn to serve (optional)
  • 2 tsp Champagne vinegar, or to taste
  • 1 cup mixed spring herbs, such as thinly sliced sorrel, fennel fronds, flowering chives, flat-leaf parsley, chervil and pea shoots
  • Finely grated lemon rind and extra-virgin olive oil, to serve
  • Fennel pollen (optional; see note), for dusting


  • 1
    Juice pea shells (see note) and refrigerate juice to chill. Heat half the olive oil in a large frying pan over high heat and sauté peas and garlic until tender (2-3 minutes). Cool, refrigerate to chill, then blend pea mixture with 100ml pea juice to a loose purée in a blender. Reserve remaining juice to serve.
  • 2
    Heat remaining oil in a casserole over medium-high heat. Add rice and a pinch of salt, and stir occasionally until translucent and only just too hot to touch (1-1½ minutes). Add wine and simmer until you no longer smell alcohol (1-2 minutes). Add hot whey a ladle at a time, stirring continuously until stock is absorbed before adding the next, until risotto is al dente but still wet (10-12 minutes; add extra water if necessary). Stir in butter, Parmigiano-Reggiano and pea purée. Add mozzarella cream and stir vigorously until creamy (1 minute), then season to taste with vinegar, salt and pepper.
  • 3
    To serve, spread a generous spoonful of risotto on plates, scatter with herbs, lemon rind, extra Parmigiano-Reggiano and torn mozzarella, drizzle with extra pea juice and extra-virgin olive oil and dust with fennel pollen.


Buy mozzarella from a delicatessen and ask for as much whey as they can give you; if necessary top up with extra water. Fennel pollen is available from Herbie's Spices. If you don't have a juicer, blend the pea shells with a little water, then strain the juice.