Risi e Bisi

Rice and Peas



I first had this dish at the house of Zia Silvana in Mestre, Venice, accompanied by her Ossobuca Alla Milanese, and it was delightful. The mixture of the tastes is heavenly.

Risi e bisi is predominantly a Venetian dish and rissottos from the area have more liquid added to them, all’onda – ‘like a wave’. I have actually made this dish to eat on its own as it is particularly comforting.

Risi e Bisi

Serves 4
1 litre (1¾ pints) chicken or vegetable stock * 6 tbsp butter * 3 shallots, finely chopped * 115g (4oz) pancetta * 225g (8oz) arborio rice * 150ml (5 floz) dry white wine * 170g (6oz) petis pois * salt & freshly ground black pepper * Parmesan cheese shavings, to garnish

Bring the stock to the boil in a large saucepan. Reduce the heat and leave to simmer gently. Melt 4 tbsp of the butter in a large, heavy based saucepan. Add the shallots and pancetta and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, until the shallots are soft.

Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes, until all the grains are thoroughly coated and glistening. Pour in the wine and cook, stirring constantly, until it has almost completely evaporated. Add a ladleful of hot stock and cook, stirring constantly, until all the stock has been absorbed. Continue cooking and adding the stock, a ladleful at a time for about 10 minutes. You should have half of the stock liquid left. Add the peas, then continue adding the stock, a ladleful at a time, for a further 10 minutes or until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed. Stir in the remaining butter, season. Transfer to a warm dish and garnish with Parmesan shavings.

I have collated all my favourite recipes into one book FOOD FOR ALL OCCASIONS.

This recipe comes from the section THE ITALIAN JOB, a selection of authentic Italian recipes.