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Venetian risi e bisi recipe

Venetian risi e bisi recipe


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  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Main course
  • Risotto

A simple and tasty risotto. This risi e bisi is a combination of arborio rice and garden peas, flavoured with bacon, parsley and Parmesan cheese.


Kent, England, UK

1 person made this

IngredientsServes: 2

  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 200g arborio rice
  • 100g bacon, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 1 glass of frozen garden peas
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • a knob of butter
  • grated Parmesan cheese to serve

MethodPrep:10min ›Cook:25min ›Ready in:35min

  1. Bring some water to the boil.
  2. Chop the onion finely and stir fry it with the olive oil in a saucepan until golden.
  3. Add the rice and the bacon and cook it with the onion for a few minutes. Then add some hot water, salt and pepper, the stock cube and the peas. Cook for about 12 minutes (see instructions on the packet) and keep topping it up with the hot water whenever it dries out.
  4. When it is cooked, take off the heat, add the chopped parsley and a knob of butter and stir it all in well.
  5. Serve sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and like all risotto dishes serve immediately!

See it on my blog

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Rice and Peas (Risi e Bisi) | Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street

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<strong>Risi e Bisi</strong>

This is a classic springtime recipe using fresh from the garden peas. It is not a true risotto, since it is eaten more as a soup, but if you like, you can add the broth/stock more slowly and stir until absorbed in the traditional manner for risotto . . . and have a thicker version. I also like the addition of garlic and pancetta for a better flavor.


Recipe Summary

  • 1 ½ pounds ham hocks
  • 6 ½ cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large shallots, minced
  • 1 large jalapeño chile, seeded and minced
  • 1 cup medium-grain rice (7 ounces)
  • ½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 ½ cups frozen petite peas
  • ½ pound Maine crabmeat
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a medium saucepan, cover the ham hocks with the water, add the bay leaf and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat until the hock meat is tender, about 1 hour. Remove the hocks from the saucepan and skim any fat from the surface of the stock keep the stock warm.

Remove the meat from the ham hocks discard the skin, fat, tendons and bones. Cut the meat into small dice you should have about 3/4 cup.

Heat the olive oil in a medium sauce-pan. Add the shallots and jalapeño and cook over low heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and thyme and stir to coat the rice with the flavorings. Pour in the ham stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the rice is just tender and the stew is somewhat soupy, about 15 minutes. Add the peas, crabmeat, scallion, lemon juice and the reserved ham and simmer for 1 minute to heat through. Season with salt and pepper and serve at once.

Make Ahead: The recipe can be prepared through Step 2 and refrigerated for up to 2 days.


Three ways to make Risi e Bisi: The original recipes from Venice

Risi e Bisi (garden pea risotto) is a favorite spring dish in Venice: By mid-April, the Rialto Market looks like this, and everyone who loves fresh peas will feel like heaven: You’ll see peas of all sizes, from the estuary, the northern Lagoon, and even from southern Italy (Campania, south of Salerno). So it’s really hard to choose your favorites amongst all this bounty:

Perhaps you know that risi e bisi was first cooked in Venice, centuries ago. I’ve seen something called “risi e bisi” as side dish on many menus across Europe, usually referring to cooked rice and frozen garden peas. Now, this hasn’t go anything do with the original recipe, which is a real gourmet dish, as you’ll see in a minute. And obviously, the long time it takes to prepare the dish, and the fresh garden peas from the market make a lot of difference.

The original recipe is a very creamy risotto (to be stirred continuously, which does take a bit of time). So it’s not an easy dish, in fact, it takes a couple of years to learn to prepare a perfect risotto like a Venetian chef does. If you’d like to try this recipe, make sure you have at least 90 minutes available.

If you take a close look, you’ll notice that there are three kinds of risotto available in Venice. Two of them are based on recipes passed on by one generation to the next, but the third one was forgotten when the Republic of Venice ceased to exist in 1797, so it’s a dish you usually won’t find on the menu. Well, I hope that will change in the years to come, as many Venetian chefs go through the ancient recipe collections!

First, there’s the popular variant of risi e bisi: Risotto rice and fresh garden peas, that is, NOT frozen. Preferably, the peas come from Badoere, a village located near Treviso on the mainland. This dish also uses speck or guanciale, plus Taleggio and Parmesan cheese, lots of fresh parsley and black pepper. This is the most common version, which you can eat on or just after 25 April in some, but not all restaurants in Venice.

The second version of risi e bisi uses not only the peas but also the baccelli (pods), which are cooked in water. Their soft green lining is then scraped off and added to the peas, which are cooked with rice and lard.

Today, I’m sharing the forgotten historical recipe below, the really festive variant, and in Venet, we write it like this: Risóto de l’Doge (in Italian: Risotto del Doge). For this special and forgotten dish, you’ll need two types of garden peas, speck or guanciale, soft cheese like Taleggio, and more solid cheese, like Montasio. You’ll also prepare some ingredients separately, as you can see in the recipe below.


Venetian Peas and Rice (Risi e Bisi)

Waverly Root, author of The Food of Italy, wonders whether this simple yet sumptuous creation is a soup or a vegetable dish. Called risi e bisi in Venetian dialect, it’s more about peas than about rice, and is traditionally served on April 25, St. Mark’s Day, when the first peas of the region appear in the Rialto market. They are expensive and not as flavorful as the ones that are available a little later. That is why Francesco says the dish is better later in the season, for the feast of the Redeemer, or Redentore, to celebrate the end of the plague in 1576. Purists insist on peas from Chioggia. The texture of the dish is rather soupy, thinner than the typical Venetian risotto all’onda. “It’s the only rice dish you can eat with a spoon,” Francesco points out, “And the rice cannot be al dente.”

Ph. Ilaria22 on wikipedia


Risi e Bisi

In a medium saucepan, cover the ham hocks with the water, add the bay leaf and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat until the hock meat is tender, about 1 hour. Remove the hocks from the saucepan and skim any fat from the surface of the stock keep the stock warm.

Remove the meat from the ham hocks discard the skin, fat, tendons and bones. Cut the meat into small dice you should have about 3/4 cup.

Heat the olive oil in a medium sauce-pan. Add the shallots and jalapeño and cook over low heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and thyme and stir to coat the rice with the flavorings. Pour in the ham stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the rice is just tender and the stew is somewhat soupy, about 15 minutes. Add the peas, crabmeat, scallion, lemon juice and the reserved ham and simmer for 1 minute to heat through. Season with salt and pepper and serve at once.


Risi e bisi

This dish is a celebration of both rice and peas. Traditionally, it is made with carnaroli or vialone nano, a flat rice that grows in Veneto, where the dish originated. But it also works well with other rice varieties, or as a way to upcycle cooked rice into a fabulous and comforting meal. Risi e bisi is best made at the beginning of the pea season, when fresh peas are available at their smallest and sweetest. The shelled pods make a remarkably floral and sweet stock that makes this dish truly sing.

300g fresh peas in their pods
Veg scraps saved for stock
½ onion
, peeled and finely chopped – put the skin in the stock
2 sprigs parsley, chopped
Parmesan rind (optional)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 tbsp olive oil
190g vialone nano
, risotto or other rice (or 400g cooked rice)
30g parmesan, plus extra for serving
20g butter

Pod the peas, and put the empty pods in a stock pot with any other veg scraps, including the onion skin, a few herb stalks and the parmesan rind, if using. Cover with one litre of boiling water, simmer for 25 minutes, then strain.

In a wide pan, gently saute half a chopped onion and the crushed garlic in the olive oil for five minutes. Stir in the vialone nano, add a ladle of hot stock and simmer, stirring regularly, adding more stock as necessary, for 15 minutes, or until the rice is cooked but firm and the consistency of loose risotto. (Or stir in 400g cooked rice, then add enough stock to create a loose consistency and bring to a boil, stirring vigorously to create a starchy texture.)

Add the chopped parsley, podded peas, butter and grated parmesan, simmer for three minutes, then taste, adjust the seasoning and serve with extra parmesan.


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup sliced scallions
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups cauliflower rice, fresh or frozen
  • 2 cups peas, fresh or frozen
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, plus more for serving

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add scallions and garlic cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add cauliflower rice, peas, pepper and salt cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Add water and continue cooking until the cauliflower is softened, 3 to 5 minutes more.

Whisk milk and cornstarch in a small bowl and add to the cauliflower. Cook, stirring, until the sauce is creamy and thick, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan and parsley. Serve hot, topped with more parsley, if desired.


Risi e Bisi Time!

Good morning. If there’s anything we’ve learned from a pandemic spent watching people make quesabirria tacos and soondubu jjigae on TikTok, it’s that culinary authenticity is a slippery concept: internet fame, as Tejal Rao told us recently, both broadens demand for particular dishes and flattens our perception of them. Suddenly there’s only one way to make a dish.

That’s been the case for Italian food since probably before the birth of the internet. Carbonara, puttanesca, Bolognese: For many people, there are strict cultural rules governing their preparation, and woe to those who break them in the name of curiosity, diet or taste. (My inbox is still recovering from the fallout after the publication of our excellent recipe for vegan Bolognese.)

“So it is with full self-awareness, self-consciousness, hypocrisy and trepidation,” Gabrielle Hamilton writes for The Times this week, “that I dare present this classic Venetian risi e bisi — rice and peas (above) — with modifications and bastardizations of my own, including the addition of dense, firm baby zucchini.”

Don’t clutch your pearls! Gabrielle’s is a lovely dish, with ratios that favor the vegetables over the rice, green and vibrant against a creamy, cheesy background. It is the very distillation of spring. And, anyway, as she points out in her piece, she’s Italian, from back when she was married to an Italian, with whom she shares her two children. “I’ve been sworn in, and have my passport, and here is my risi e bisi,” she writes. “Feel free to text with your own ex about it, with exclamation points or puke emojis. I will totally understand either way.”

(Compare and contrast: Here’s David Tanis’s risi e bisi and Martha Rose Shulman’s and Molly O’Neill’s, which omits the conjunction to become simply risi bisi.)

That last recipe is Melissa Clark’s, and the pickled onions she makes for it are fantastic. But lately I’ve been making pickled onions of my own, using a no-recipe recipe I’d like to share with you because, on Wednesdays, no-recipe recipes are my thing. The idea is to prompt you to make food that’s a little more improvisational than usual, and in so doing to learn to trust yourself in the kitchen a little more, to grow confident in your cooking.

And so: Grab yourself a couple of red onions, along with some limes, cider vinegar, chile-garlic sauce and around half a can of Coke. Get a good amount of the cider vinegar going in a saucepan with the juice of the limes, the Coke and the chile-garlic sauce to taste — everything to taste, actually! — making enough liquid so that when it comes to a simmer and starts to reduce, there’ll be enough to cover the onions. Peel and slice the onions while the pickling liquid burbles away, then put them in a bowl and pour the hot liquid over them. Stir to combine, allow to cool, then put in a covered container in the fridge. They’ll last for ages there, and you’ll definitely like them on the tacos. (If the Coke freaks you out, fine: Just sprinkle some sugar into the hot acids instead.)

There are thousands and thousands more recipes to cook tonight and in coming days on New York Times Cooking. You need a subscription to access them, it’s true. Subscriptions support our work and allow it to continue. I hope, if you haven’t already, that you will subscribe today.

And we are here if you need us, should anything go sideways in your kitchen or our technology. Just write [email protected] and someone will get back to you.

Now, it’s nothing to do with sprats or saffron, but I’ve gone deep on the Mike Bowditch series of crime novels by Paul Doiron and think you might enjoy them yourself. Among other things, it’s nice to be in the Maine woods.

I think you’ll like Lauren Collins in The New Yorker, on the rise of French tacos. “French tacos are tacos like chicken fingers are fingers,” she writes. “Which is to say they are not tacos at all.”

Also in the food space, here’s our video about the mesmerizing way Cantonese-style rice rolls are made, on YouTube.

It’s soapy and strange, but as I continue my search for good content way out on the edges of Streaming Town, I’ve been enjoying the South Korean mystery-thriller “The Lies Within,” on Netflix.

Finally, here’s a new Rhiannon Giddens track to play us off, “Calling Me Home,” with Francesco Turrisi. Enjoy that and I’ll be back on Friday.


Watch the video: Venetian rice and spring peas: Risi e Bisi, Italian recipe - Giannis North Beach (January 2023).