Risi & Bisi a Veneto Dish

Rice and Peas

A typical dish from the Veneto region, in particular from the city of Venice, but also from the province of Vicenza and Verona, based on rice and peas. A dish to be enjoyed especially in spring, when there are fresh peas, the basic ingredient of this delicious first course.

For this preparation you prefer Vialone Nano rice, which, growing during cooking, absorbs the seasoning with the result of a final dish halfway between risotto and soup: the rice and peas, in fact, must be neither too ”brothy” nor too dry, but soft and creamy. The addition of bacon (pancetta), will give the dish even more flavor.

Disclaimer

The dish I prepared and photographed, is not as recommended above, but a real risotto. The reason being that I do not like ”liquidity” when it comes to my rice. My grandmother used to make it and obliged us (the children) to eat iI. I decided then and there that when I grow up I would never and ever eat that LIQUIDITY again.

But everybody likes it, so don’t mind me.

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 200 g of Vialone Nano rice
  • 150 g of fresh shelled peas
  • 50 g of pancetta tesa (optional)
  • 1 spring onion (or a small white onion)
  • vegetable broth
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • butter
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper

Smart tips

In the traditional recipe, to give even more aroma to the rice and peas, a broth with pods is made: once the peas are shelled, wash the pods under running water, put them in a pot with the broth and cook them for about an hour from the start of the boil. Once cooked, blend the pods with the immersion blender, leaving them in the broth. Then pour the puree into a bowl, first passing it through a sieve, and keep it warm. Use this broth to cook the rice.

Instead of vegetable broth you can also use meat broth or chicken broth and you can replace bacon with raw ham.

If the preparation with fresh peas is too long, you can use frozen ones.

If you want to make a light version of the Venetian “risotto with peas“, you can replace the butter with 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.

But for me, nothing is better than butter!

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I lived the most part of my life in Washington DC, now in Italy getting to know again my country. Plenty of surprises, for good and bad, and lots of nostalgia for DC.

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