Broad Bean Risotto with Pecorino

Red and white willow pattern bowl of risotto with broad beans.

It’s broad bean season! I love broad beans with their delicate, pea-like flavour, and even though they’re a little bit of effort as they need double podding, they’re the perfect thing to adorn this Broad Bean Risotto with slightly nutty pecorino cheese and just a hint of lemon. Open a good bottle of white wine to make the base (we’re keeping things light and delicate making the risotto with white wine and water, instead of stock) and serve the rest of the bottle nice and cold alongside. Enjoy!

Close up of a bowl of broad bean risotto with lemon zest.

How To Double Pod Broad Beans

I know broad beans can be a little time consuming and fussy, which is why they’re so suited to a risotto – you can do the slow, methodical podding for this Broad Bean Risotto as you gradually stir the liquid into the rice. The kitchen needs your attention anyway here, so you might as well multi-task!

  1. Tear open the large, long broad bean pods and remove the beans in their tough inner pods.
  2. Boil the kettle and cook them in a pan of boiling water for just 2 minutes. Then drain them and plunge them instantly into a bowl of cold water with an ice cube or two if you have them.
  3. Using your thumbnail, gently pierce the thick skin of each broad bean. For the larger ones you’ll need to gently peel the skin, on smaller ones the tender green bean inside will just slip out as they’ve been blanched!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use parmesan in this risotto if I can’t find pecorino?

Of course you can, but I think a really good, top level pecorino if you can find one gives this already elegant risotto a bit of an edge. I buy Natoora’s Pecorino Romano from Ocado. Just don’t blink at the price — once you’ve tried it grated over simple pasta or risotto you’ll realise why it’s so much better than cheaper versions as a bit of a treat!

Does this risotto work with other vegetables? Will peas work?

Yes — frozen peas are the obvious choice, but whilst we’re on the seasonal veg, freshly podded garden peas which are almost in season would also be lovely here as the star.

Red and white bowl of broad bean and pecorino risotto.

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Close up of a bowl of broad bean risotto with lemon zest.

Broad Bean Risotto with Pecorino

  • Author: Rachel Phipps
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Gluten Free


This simple and elegant Broad Bean Risotto with Pecorino and Lemon is the perfect early summer, Friday night dinner for two — made simple by multi-tasking, double podding the broad beans as you slowly stir the risotto.


  • 2 large knobs of unsalted butter
  • 2 banana shallots
  • sea salt
  • 150g risotto rice
  • 200ml white wine
  • 150g podded broad beans
  • 20g grated pecorino, plus extra shavings for serving
  • zest of 1/2 small or 1/4 large lemon
  • freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat a large knob of butter in a medium, heavy bottomed saucepan set over a medium heat. Peel and finely chop the shallots before gently frying them with a pinch of salt until soft, but making sure they don’t take on any colour.
  2. Stir in the rice and cook for a few minutes until the rice has heated through before adding the wine. Allow it to fully absorb into the rice, and keep on adding up to 700ml of boiling water, very gradually, waiting until it is fully absorbed before adding the next splash until the rice is just tender.
  3. Meanwhile, blanch the podded broad beans (still in their thick, individual jackets) in a pan of boiling water for two minutes before plunging them into a bowl of cold water (preferably with an ice cube or two) to stop them cooking. As you stir the risotto, using your thumbnail to pierce the skin, slip off the tough second skin.
  4. Remove the risotto from the heat and beat in the grated pecorino and another knob of butter. Then stir in the podded broad beans and the lemon zest. Season to taste with a little more salt if you think it needs it, and serve immediately split between two warm bowls, topped off by a little more cheese and a few grinds of black pepper.


Freshly podded garden peas, quickly blanched, also work beautifully here!