Risi e Bisi (Venetian-Style Rice and Peas)
This traditional dish is one of the recipes that, for us, defines the food of Venice.
Yield: serves 4
- 1 3⁄4 lb. fresh peas in pods
- 4 tbsp. butter
- 2 oz. pancetta, diced
- 1 small yellow onion, peeled and minced
- 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1⁄3 cups carnaroli rice
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1⁄2 bunch parsley leaves, minced
- Freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
- Shell peas, reserving pods. Place pods in a medium pot with 8 cups lightly salted water. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to medium-low, and simmer for 1 hour. Strain broth into a medium pot, pressing on pods. Discard pods. Keep broth warm over low heat.
- Melt 2 tbsp. of the butter in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add pancetta and onions and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until onions are golden, about 10 minutes. Add peas and ½ cup warm broth. Cover and cook until peas are tender, 5-10 minutes.
- Increase heat to high, uncover, and cook off any remaining liquid. Add oil. When oil is hot, add rice and stir to coat well. Add about ¾ cup warm broth and cook, stirring constantly, until most of the broth has been absorbed. Add about ¾ cup more broth. Continue cooking, stirring and adding broth as needed until rice is tender but firm to the bite, about 20 minutes.
- Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in 1 more cup broth, remaining 2 tbsp. butter, parsley, and ¼ cup parmigiano-reggiano. Cover and allow to rest for a few minutes. Serve with additional parmigiano-reggiano.