Risi e Bisi

Risi e Bisi
  • coursePrimo piatto
  • difficultyMedium
  • preparation time1 hour

Risi e bisi, which simply means rice and peas in the Venetian dialect, is the most famous of all risotti from the region. In the days of the Venetian Republic, it was served before the Doge on April 25, the feast of San Marco and the national day.

In Veneto, risotti are served all’onda, which literally means "on the waves." In fact, it means with quite a lot of liquid, rather like the city of Venezia itself.

This version by Luca Marchiori is made with Prosecco, the best of which comes from the hills of Valdobbiadene, about 50 miles to the north-west of Venice. It makes a luxurious accompaniment to the dish, but you could use any white wine from the region.

Risi e Bisi (Rice and Peas)
Recipe courtesy of Great Italian Chefs*

For the pea stock:
1 2/4 pounds of fresh peas in the pod
1 carrot, chopped
1 onion, halved
6 1/3 pints of water
1 pinch of salt

For the dish:
1/3 ounces of butter
1 dash of olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 1/2 ounces of pancetta, cubed
14 1/8 ounces of Vialone Nano risotto rice, or other risotto rice
4 1/4 fluid ounces of Prosecco
5 1/3 ounces of stracchino

For serving:
Flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Parmigiano Reggiano, to taste

Shell the peas then place the empty pods, carrot and onion in a large saucepan together with the water and salt.

Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain, reserving the liquid to use as stock.

Melt the butter with a little olive oil in a large, non-stick saucepan. Soften the onion over a low heat until translucent, for about 3 minutes. Add the pancetta cubes and continue to cook until the pancetta has turned pink, for about another 3 minutes.

Add the rice to the pan, turn up the heat slightly and mix together with the onion and pancetta, stirring all the time with a wooden spatula. After 3–4 minutes, pour in all of the Prosecco – there will be a dramatic 'woosh' and a cloud of steam.

Begin to add the stock, one ladleful at a time, and keep stirring until it has all been absorbed by the rice. Repeat this process until the rice is almost cooked, but still a little al dente. This will take about 15 minutes depending on the rice. About halfway through the cooking time, add the podded peas and adjust the seasoning.

Remove the risotto from the heat, cover, and leave to rest for about 5 minutes. In this time the rice will continue to cook.

Add the stracchino cheese and fold it into the risotto until it has melted. If the risotto is too dry at this point add another ladleful of stock.

Serve immediately in bowls, topped with shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and a little chopped parsley. Enjoy with the rest of the bottle of Prosecco!


* Editor's note: This recipe by Chef Luca Marchiori first appeared on Great Italian Chefs. Explore more recipes from some of Italy’s best chefs!