Lemony Sweet Pea & Buttercup Brown Rice Risotto with Roasted Cauliflower & Celery

In this version I used fresh sweet peas {classic}, heirloom buttercup squash which needed to be used up, spinach and meyer lemon, plus a mirepoix (onion, carrot and celery) at the start. Many of you know the amazingness which is roasted cauliflower, but mr. celery is due his day. Plain ol' celery, best known for it's role as "log" is transformed into some heavenly caramelized goodness on that roasting pan.

My little could not help himself to my prop peas during the shoot, but then again, would any respectable sweet pea loving person have been able to?



Roasted Cauliflower, Celery, and Onion


Prepare Risotto:

  1. Bring to a boil 3 quarts of water and reduce to a rolling simmer.
  2. Heat a skillet on medium heat.
  3. Wash veg, rinse and drain rice and rinse and drain peas (keep aside). Finely chop carrot, celery and onion and mince garlic. Chop buttercup squash into 1/4 thick pieces. Toss veg (except for peas and spinach) in the olive oil and add to hot skillet.
  4. Raise the heat to medium high and sauté veg for about 3 minutes. Then add rice, herbs, seasoning, pepper flakes, bay leaves and black pepper. Allow rice to toast for a minute, stirring to keep from burning. Using a ladle, add about 2 cups worth of the boiling water to the skillet. Stir for a couple of minutes, add salt now if you wish then cover and lower heat to medium-low. Cook for 15 minutes, remove cover and add about 2 cups more water, stir for a couple of minutes and replace cover. The rice should be bubbling throughout the process. Cook for 10 more minutes, then add more water as needed, stir and cover again.
  5. Repeat process and Cook for 10 more minutes, adding more water as needed. Add peas now and cook for 10 minutes more (45 minutes total) and add more water if needed. Test rice for doneness and seasoning, should be cooked completely through but still have a bite like al dente pasta, add more salt to taste if wanted. If done, turn off heat.
  6. Thinly slice lemon and remove seeds. Add lemon slices and spinach and stir until wilted. Stir in coconut milk or cream now or top the dish with it when serving.

Prepare Roasted Cauliflower, Celery, and Onion:

  1. Preheat oven to 425˚F before you start the risotto.
  2. Once risotto is simmering away...slice cauliflower into 1/2 think slabs. Cut celery stalks in half. Slice onion into 1/4" thick slices.
  3. Toss everything together and spread out into one layer on baking sheet. Bake for 35 minutes, flipping halfway through so veg browns evenly. Lay roasted veggies over risotto when serving. Enjoy!!!


With sweet brown rice, I found it was not necessary to stir continually throughout the cooking process. If using white arborio or carnaroli rice I suggest following the traditional method for cooking risotto and leave uncovered, stirring often for the entire cooking process and adding water by the ladle-ful as needed.

Risotto is best eaten the same day, but will keep refrigerated for the leftovers the following day.

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Recipe by Fare Isle at