Fresh peas coated in creamy rice that you won’t be able to stop eating. It’s quick to make, it’s simple, it’s delicious, and kids love it! What else could you ask for? Serve it as a soup, risotto, main dish, or a side dish.
Italian risi e bisi is one of my favorite childhood dishes. As a kid, I asked for it a lot. I can’t recall now if it was because I liked it so much, or because I had a blast yelling rizzeebizzee! When my son suddenly started eating rice after refusing it his whole young life, I knew I had to start making risi e bisi for him. As I had hoped, risi e bisi became another toddler-approved dish!
So, what is risi e bisi? Risi e bisi translates to “rice and peas” in English. It is a traditional soup from Venice. A very thick soup that doesn’t contain too much liquid and a lot of people make it as a sort of a risotto to eat on its own or to serve with meat or fish. Personally, I like it with less liquid and love eating it as a main dish, but it also makes a great side dish as well.
Also, many people add pancetta to deepen the flavor but I prefer keeping this beautiful dish simple and fresh with just onion, rice, peas and some fresh Italian parsley. Of course, fresh, unshelled peas would be ideal for this recipe as you could shell them at home and use some of the shells in the recipe, but frozen peas will do the job just the same. I do not, however, recommend using canned peas though.
Now, which rice should you use for a dish that’s not quite a risotto but acts like one? Risotto rice, of course. Italians typically use three types of rice for risotto: Arborio, Vialone Nano, and Carnaroli. In my experience, Arborio rice is the easiest to find in the States. But hey, we won’t tell if you cheat and use whatever white rice may be hiding in your pantry!
Seriously, there’s not much to say about this dish, it’s delicious, it tastes great, it’s quick and it’s very simple to make! Trust me, this is a dish you have to try!
For this recipe, you will need:
- 3-Quart Saucepan with lid
- Fine mesh strainer
- Cutting board and Chef’s knife
- Measuring cups and spoons
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil
- ½ small yellow onion, finely diced
- 20 oz fresh or frozen peas
- 1 cup Arborio rice (or other risotto rice)
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp Parmesan, grated (optional)
- Using a fine mess strainer, rinse and drain the rice. Set aside.
- In a 3-quart saucepan, heat 2 tbsp of sunflower oil on medium heat and sauté onions until they’re golden in color. About 5-6 minutes. Stir frequently.
- Add peas, stir well and add salt. Let cook for 2-3 minutes on medium heat.
- Pour in chicken broth, cover and let simmer for 8-10 minutes then add rice and stir in well. Cover the saucepan. Simmer for 20 minutes or until rice is cooked. Stir occasionally.
- When the rice is cooked, add black pepper and stir. Mix in chopped Italian parsley and cheese, if using, and remove from heat. Serve hot.
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