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
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  • 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.

  • undefined: Oskar Rossi & Federica Andrisani