Creamy Pea Risotto with Bacon

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Creamy pea risotto with bacon and mint is an excellent springtime Italian dish! Tender arborio rice is flavored with peas, fresh mint, and crispy bacon.

Creamy Pea Risotto with Bacon

Poor little green peas, always getting a bad reputation in the highly desired vegetable category, or does that even exist? Haha. Maybe it’s the childhood memories of mushy overcooked canned peas for me, but I decided to give it another try.

Fresh peas are available during the spring or better yet, a frozen bag also works too. A delicious way to showcase these delicate and slightly sweet green pearls is to add them to some creamy risotto, sounds like a good idea to me!

top down view of a bowl of risotto

It’s not just about sprinkling a few peas here and there into the risotto. Nope, I’ve pureed 1 cup of peas with fresh mint to add to this risotto base and saved the rest for stirring in. I was able to find some frozen organic peas at my local grocery store, and they were fantastic.

I add the mint pea puree and whole peas at the very end of cooking until just hot, so the peas don’t get overcooked, and the color stays nice and bright green.

spoon scooping into a risotto

When you make risotto I have three rules: 1) Don’t be in a hurry, 2) Have a glass of nice white wine in hand as you tend to the rice (or your other favorite beverage), 3) Play some rustic Italian music and sing. Yep, all of these rules will enhance your risotto experience!

The most important rule is not to be rushed because each grain of Italian arborio rice needs time to absorb a large amount of chicken stock. This gives you that “al dente” and creamy texture that is to die for, seriously. If you jack up the heat or add all of the liquid at once, you will be left with mushy and watery rice, no grazie!

close up of mint and bacon on top of a risotto

There it is again, yummy crispy bacon! If you have been checking out my recipes for a while, you will know that my family LOVES bacon. In this dish, it brings together the fresh peas, mint, and lemon, with the smoky bacon and creamy rice, topped with Parmesan cheese, bada bing, bada boom!

If you are looking for more Italian inspired recipes, try my herb stuffed mushrooms with sausage, easy gnocchi skillet with chicken sausage, chicken ragu pasta with mushrooms or cheesy chicken parmesan.

What rice do I use for Risotto and how do I make it creamy?

Arborio rice is the best! It’s a short-grain Italian rice that is high in starch content which adds the creaminess to your risotto. Stir the rice constantly as you gradually add the liquid to keep the grains separate. The heat, time, and stirring motion will help the excess starch on the rice absorb the liquid. Over time the starches swell, causing the grains to soften but not stick together. The rice should still be firm and “al dente”; taste the rice as you go so you know the perfect endpoint. The rice should be tender, not hard (grainy and uncooked), and the rice should be like a nice pudding consistency, not an unmovable lump of rice.

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Creamy Pea Risotto with Bacon

Creamy pea and bacon risotto with mint is an excellent springtime Italian dish! Tender arborio rice is flavored with peas, fresh mint and crispy bacon.
Pin Print Review
3.38 from 8 votes
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time1 hr
Servings 8 servings
Course Entree
Cuisine Italian


  • 7 cups chicken stock
  • 6 ounces bacon, diced
  • 2 cups green peas, frozen, thawed
  • 6 large mint leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup yellow onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, fresh
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, more as needed
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper, more as needed


  • In a large pot, bring chicken stock to a simmer and keep until ready to make the risotto.
  • In a skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain; reserve 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat.
  • In a food processor or blender, puree half of the peas and 6 mint leaves with 1 cup of water, reserve.
  • In a large saucepan, heat the oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook over medium heat until softened, 5 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring, until evenly coated with the oil. Add the wine and simmer until almost evaporated, 3 minutes.
  • Add the simmering chicken stock about ½ cup at a time to the rice, stirring frequently. Wait until each portion of the cooking liquid is almost fully absorbed before adding the next. Keep gradually adding the stock until the rice is tender and suspended in a creamy sauce, about 25 to 35 minutes.
  • Add the mint pea puree, the remaining peas, bacon, and cook, stirring until hot.
  • Remove the risotto from the heat and stir in the butter, reserved bacon fat, cheese, lemon juice, and zest. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with mint and cheese and serve.

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Nutrition Facts
Creamy Pea Risotto with Bacon
Amount Per Serving
Calories 415 Calories from Fat 162
% Daily Value*
Fat 18g28%
Saturated Fat 8g40%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 31mg10%
Sodium 662mg28%
Potassium 128mg4%
Carbohydrates 45g15%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 17g34%
Vitamin A 950IU19%
Vitamin C 20.6mg25%
Calcium 200mg20%
Iron 1.1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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4 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Bobbi Feyerabend says

    HI Jessica
    I am new to your food ideas and enjoying what I see. Can you please tell me how many people you are cooking for? Do recipes serve 6-8? I always cook for 2, so it will be helpful to know that, and I can reduce quantities.
    I really appreciate you having the Nutrition Facts for each recipe. Useful!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Welcome Bobbi! It depends on the recipe, this particular one is for 8 servings (about 1/4 cup dried rice per person). There is a feature on the actual recipe that you can adjust the amount to the serving size you need. I hope that helps!

  2. Mary says

    Dear Jessica, your recipes and your humor are both refreshing! I’m enjoying reading your blog and the free e-cookbook I received after signing up to participate in your emails. The new recipes and ideas are great, thank you!
    I do have one question about the mint used in this recipe. Could you explain how it contributes to this savory risotto/bacon mixture? What would happen to the overall experience of this if it was omitted?
    Thank you very much for all your hard work sharing all these marvelous recipes with us, Mary

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Thank you for your sweet comments Mary! The mint provides a refreshing balance to the more hearty bacon notes for the palate, especially since it’s incorporated in the pea puree. If you omitted the mint that would be perfectly ok.

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