Chef Jason Saxby - Risotto of Green Peas with Fermented Black Garlic

Today we are very honoured to have a guest recipe from Chef Jason Saxby, the head chef at Russo & Russo in Enmore, NSW. Jason is the 2011 winner of the prestigious Josephine Pignolet Award. He's spent time at Pilu@Freshwater, Quay, Per Se (NYC), The Ledbury (London) and Pollen St Social (London). He has a passion for proper, regional Sardinian cuisine and loves the freedom he has at Russo & Russo to create amazing Italian inspired dishes!

Many thanks to Jason for offering to provide this amazing recipe. Please let him know if you try it and what you think! Even better, drop by the restaurant and taste his food in person...

Risotto of Green Peas with Fermented Black Garlic, Pecorino Sardo and Charred Pea Tendrils - by Jason Saxby (Recipe: serves 4)

For Finishing:

  • 100 g of pea tendrils. (These are the leaves off the pea vine)
  • Good Extra Virgin Olive Oil for finishing
  • Black Pepper in a Grinder
  • 100 g Pecorino Sardo, shaved into rustic but very thin slices with a vegetable peeler (this is a hard sheep's milk cheese from Italy, in the region of Sardinia.)

Vegetable Stock:

  • 2 brown onion
  • 1/3 bunch celery
  • 2 bulbs of garlic
  • also use the scraps of any vegetables you have lying around. As long as its not leafy
  1. Chop all veg into rough 2 cm pieces (mirepoix).
  2. Heat a large pot on medium heat
  3. Add a Tbl of oil. 
  4. Add mirepoix and sweat in the pan until softened but not coloured. Its important you don’t brown the vegetables as it will make your stock brown, which will make your risotto brown.
  5. Top with 2 litres of water. This will make more than you need but its very handy to have around and it will keep for one week in the fridge.
  6. Simmer for half an hour and strain, discarding the solids. 

Pea Puree:

  • 1 kg Fresh Peas (if you can’t get really good peas fresh, then use IQF frozen peas, make sure to get good quality)
  • 1 L of water
  1. Remove the peas from the pods by pulling the tip and snapping while pulling one half of the pod off. Remove peas. Continue until all are done.
  2. Keep a few handfuls aside to finish your risotto, you need about 2 tbls per serve.
  3. Bring the water to boil in a medium pot with a pinch of salt added.
  4. Meanwhile set up a blender and a container for your puree to go into ready as you need to move fast.
  5. Put the rest of the peas in the boiling stock and boil until tender, about 2-3 minutes
  6. Strain the peas, reserving a bit of the water for blending. Blend on high speed in your blender until completely smooth. Adding blanching water as necessary. Season to taste.
  7. Transfer quickly to your container. Set aside.

Black Garlic Puree:

  • 100 g of fermented black Garlic
  • 50 ml water
  • 50 ml balsamic vinegar
  1. Peel skin off garlic.
  2. Add all ingredients to your blender and blend until smooth. Alternatively use a hand blender with all ingredients in the cylindrical jug the blender comes with. Set aside in a squeezy bottle or a container.


  • 1⁄2 small brown onion - Very Finely diced
  • 2 Cloves garlic – minced
  • 250 g Carnaroli rice
  • 100 ml white wine
  • 100g butter, diced and kept cold
  • 50 g Pecorino Sardo, Grated 
  • salt and pepper
  • 250 g of the Pea Puree you prepared earlier
  • Fresh Peas that you reserved
  1. Put Vegetable stock into a pot and put on medium flame to bring to simmer.
  2. Place another medium, heavy based pot on a medium to high flame and add a few tablespoons of olive oil.
  3. When olive oil is hot Add diced onion and garlic and sweat until softened, do not colour.
  4. Then Add carnaroli rice. Heat whilst stirring around until it is very hot to touch.
  5. Add wine and stir quickly. The wine will quickly evaporate.
  6. Immediately Add 3 medium ladles of veg stock. Stir. Keep adding a ladle of stock as your previous ladle starts evaporating. Do not add too much at once. 
  7. Occasionally stirring, keep the rice at a fast simmer as you want to cook it quickly to avoid soft and soggy rice. It should take around 12 minutes to cook your rice until al dente. Depending on your stove and pot. 
  8. Meanwhile heat your char grill, BBQ or a large frying pan ready to cook the pea tendrils.
  9. When the rice is al dente and the last ladle of stock you added has almost evaporated add the fresh peas and the pea puree. Stir well. Bring back to simmer. Remove from heat. Add the grated Pecorino Sardo and the diced butter. Stir until vigorously until it is emulsified and the risotto looks creamy. Check for seasoning. If necessary adjust consistency with a splash of extra vegetable stock or pea puree. You want the risotto to move like a wave when you shake the pan. Let rest for 30 seconds.
  10. Meanwhile toss the pea tendrils with a little olive oil and flash on the char grill, bbq or large fry pan. Season. Remove from heat

To Plate:

  1. Spread risotto evenly amongst 4 plates.
  2. Spread flat by banging the palm of your hand underneath the plate. 
  3. Drizzle black garlic puree over the top. 
  4. Spread shaved pecorino cheese.
  5. Lay charred pea tendrils next.
  6. Drizzle with olive oil and crack fresh black pepper over the top
  7. Serve immediately. Timing is crucial with risotto. enjoy


Russo & Russo
158 Enmore Road
Enmore, NSW
02 8068 5202