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There are very few things tastier than fresh pizza cooked in a brick oven. So, I was very excited to when our friends invited us over for dinner to check out the new brick pizza oven they built in their backyard. I was already impressed that they built their own oven from scratch, but they went above and beyond in designing it!

pizza ovenIt is topped with Spanish tile and is located in the middle of a nice patio area they also built, turning their own concrete and everything! Right next to the oven is a big garden where they grow their veggies and herbs, all of which we used as toppings for our pizza. But that’s not all! They also made their own dough and pizza sauce. All I can say is Yum!

After this delicious meal, I had a craving the next few days for more Italian food. So, I decided to make a creamy risotto which is perfect in this cooler weather.


  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/3 cup cooked peas
  • 4 cups warmed vegetable broth
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 3 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • chopped small onion
  • olive oil, salt, pepper, parsley
  • 2 tbsp butter


  1. In a saucepan, warm the broth over low heat.
  2. Warm 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the mushrooms, and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Remove mushrooms and their liquid, and set aside.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to skillet, and stir in the onion/shallots. Cook 1 minute. Add rice, stirring to coat with oil, about 2 minutes. When the rice has taken on a pale, golden color, pour in wine, stirring constantly until the wine is fully absorbed. Add 1/2 cup broth to the rice, and stir until the broth is absorbed.
  4. Continue adding broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring continuously, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Cook peas
  6. Remove from heat, and stir in peas, mushrooms with their liquid, butter, parsley, and parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

risotto mushroom and peas 1 risotto mushroom and peas 2While risotto takes a lot of standing and stirring, it is definitely worth the time!