Risi e bisi (rice and peas) is a famous Venetian dish. The proportions are what make it so unusual—as cooks there put it, for each grain of rice there should be a pea. Mariko Seguso prepares this like a traditional risotto, slowly adding stock and stirring constantly. This is a short-cut version.
Delicious, Quick Side Dishes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 ounces pancetta, coarsely chopped (1/2 cup)
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 1/2 quarts light chicken stock
Two 10-ounce packages frozen peas
1 pound arborio or vialone nano rice
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper
How to Make It
In a medium enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion and cook over low heat until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the pancetta and 2 tablespoons of the parsley and cook for 5 minutes. Add the stock, peas and rice and bring to a simmer over moderately high heat.
Cover and cook over moderately low heat until the rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Stir in the 1 cup of Parmesan, the butter and the remaining 2 tablespoons of parsley and season with salt and pepper. Ladle the rice and peas into shallow bowls and serve at once, passing more Parmesan at the table.
The risi e bisi can be refrigerated overnight. Reheat gently, adding more stock as necessary to achieve a stewlike consistency.
A creamy, round white with zingy minerals and spice will contrast with the clean flavors here. Look for a Tocai Friulano from Friuli-Venezia Giulia.
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