Risi e bisi

This soupy rice and peas dish originating in Venice amounts on the plate to so much more than its simple name suggests. Make sure you retain the pods of your peas as they are incorporated in.


Fresh from the garden: shelling peas, sugar snaps, onions
Recipe source: adapted from a recipe  by Stevie Parle on telegraph.co.uk
Serves: 6 or 24 tastes

  • Mixing bowls, 5 mixed size
  • Scales
  • Measures – jug, tablespoon
  • Chopping boards and knife
  • Large stockpot & smaller saucepan
  • Large spoon
  • Stick blender with small blending bowl attachment
  • Spatula
  • Ladle
  • Sieve
  • Wooden spoon
  • Grater
  • Serving bowls


  • 300g peas (combination of freshly podded, frozen and sugar snaps)
  • 1½ litres water
  • 2 onions
  • 75g butter
  • Olive oil
  • Flaked salt & black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons bouillon
  • 300g Arborio rice
  • 75g parmigiano or grana padano

What to do:

  • Pod the fresh peas, keeping the peas and pods in separate bowls.Wash the sugar snaps, de-string and slice in half or into thirds. Weigh the peas and sugar snaps and then add frozen peas to make up the remainder of the 300g.
  • Measure the water into the smaller of the saucepans and set it to boil. Peel and finely chop the onions.
  • Melt the butter with a splash of oil in a nice big saucepan or stockpot over a low heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and gently fry until very soft but not coloured (about 15 minutes).
  • Meanwhile, add the bouillon and the pea pods (not the peas) to the boiling water in the smaller saucepan and boil hard for at least 10 minutes until soft.
  • Stir all the peas and the rice into the onions and season well. Make sure everything is nicely coated in the butter, then add the reserved stock, gradually bringing it to the boil and stirring gently. Turn the heat down low so that it is gently simmering and leave it to bubble away, stirring occasionally until the rice is just cooked and the peas are soft (about 20 minutes).
  • When the 10 minutes is up for the smaller saucepan, carefully using the large spoon, scoop out the solids to the blending bowl of the stick blender, with a small amount of liquid. Blend them until you have a slightly stringy paste, then pass through the sieve so you have a purée. Add a splash of oil and a little seasoning and put to one side.
  • Grate the parmesan. After the 20 minutes are up for the stockpot, stir in the purée and parmesan, check the seasoning, and add a little more stock or hot water if the consistency is not soupy enough (you should need a spoon to eat it) then spoon into bowls and serve.

Notes: How many peas are in a pod? What does risi e bisi mean?


Categories: Kitchen Garden, Recipe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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