Risi e Bisi
(Italian stewed rice and peas)
Risi e bisi is springtime dish with rice and fresh peas from the Veneto region of northern Italy. This kid's favorite is more of a thick soup than a risotto, so make sure to add enough stock to keep its consistency somewhat loose. And try to use fresh peas instead of frozen. They make a much more flavorful dish with a brighter green.
3 to 4 servings
- Pancetta or salt pork, chopped finely -- 2 tablespoons
- Onion, minced -- 1/2
- Fresh peas -- 2 cups
- Arborio or carnaroli rice -- 1 1/2 cups
- Stock or water, simmering -- 4 cups
- Parmesan, grated -- 1/2 cup
- Fresh parsley, minced -- 1 tablespoon
- Salt and pepper -- to taste
- Heat a large saucepan over medium flame. Add the pancetta or salt pork and saute until it gives off most of its fat, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add the onions and saute until they are translucent. Stir in the peas, rice and a big pinch of salt and cook for another 1 or 2 minutes to heat through.
- Pour in about 3 cups of the simmering stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Pour in the rest of the stock and simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in the Parmesan, parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.
Risi e Bisi Variations
- Substitute 2 tablespoons of olive oil for the pancetta for a vegetarian version.
- Do not substitute regular long-grain rice in this dish. It will not develop the same creamy consistency. You can try it with another medium or short-grain rice though.