Ham, Pea and Onion Risotto

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Easter is no exception to holiday leftovers. This ham, pea and onion risotto is the perfect way to clean out the fridge. It’s been a long time since I made risotto. Many years ago, before kids, my husband and I were on a business trip to Venice, Italy. One evening our host treated us to a multi-course dinner. Neither of us had ever had risotto. The creamy, cheesy rice was divine. My husband asked if I could make it. I replied that I had never tried but would look for a recipe.

When we got home I scoured the dozens of cookbooks I had and came up empty. Not one single recipe for risotto. So I turned to the internet and found a recipe for champagne risotto with scallops. Well, I’m not a fan of scallops but we did have some frozen Florida lobster tail in the freezer, so I made it with lobster. It was a huge success. Plus, that recipe began my career with my editor at the former St. Petersburg (FL) Times newspaper. A job that lasted more than 15 years.

Until the kids came along, I made risotto often but because it’s a bit time consuming and you have to babysit the cooking by adding more liquid and stirring frequently, I didn’t make it much. I decided to use up some Easter leftovers to make this recipe that is adapted from a cookbook my Mom gave me- the Williams-Sonoma Risotto cookbook. Unfortunately I don’t think it’s offered in their stores any longer. My youngest, who will try anything, declared it a keeper. It’s filling and perfect for spring with the addition of peas.

Ham, Pea and Onion Risotto

Risotto is the perfect way to use up leftovers. It's creamy and delicious and can be served as a side or main dish.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Total Time10 minutes
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 6 servings


  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 yellow onion chopped
  • 3/4 pound ham cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen baby sweet peas
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Pour the broth into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Adjust the heat to keep hot.
  • In a large, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and saute until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the ham and saute until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes longer.
  • Add the rice and stir until white spots appear in the center of the grains, about 1 minute.
  • Add a ladleful of the stock and adjust the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook stirring constantly until the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes, maybe longer.
  • Continue adding the liquid, a ladleful at a time and stirring constantly until the rice starts to soften.
  • Add the peas and continue adding liquid, a ladleful at a time and stirring constantly, unit the rice is just tenter but slightly firm in the center. There will be a creamy appearance with most of the liquid absorbed.
  • Add the Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Stir well to mix.
  • Serve.

Ham, Pea and Onion Risotto

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  1. I have never made risotto, can you believe that? I am pinning this to add it to my menu planner! thanks for sharing at the Easter Leftover Makeover Recipe Party.. this recipe is the exact reason I wanted to run the party! Expand my horizons! Thank you!

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