Fresh Spring Peas = Risi e Bisi

Risi e Bisi

Risi e Bisi

It seems as though I’ve been in a bit of an Italian-food mood recently with the garlic scape pesto, fresh tagliatelle, bison rag├╣ and finally the risi e bisi I made Saturday.

Fresh Spring Peas

Fresh Spring Peas

The idea for risi e bisi, an Italian dish from Venice, came after I bought a container of fresh shelled peas from the farmer’s market. I love fresh peas and the ones I bought today were wonderfully sweet and a little peppery, and nothing like frozen peas. But I remembered from last year how quickly the peas went bad so I wanted to be sure to use at least some of them right away. Originally I had planned on making risotto with peas and mushrooms but somehow forgot to buy the mushrooms.

Risi e Bisi: stir rice into sauteed onions and garlic Risi e Bisi: simmer rice and broth Risi e Bisi: Add peas to simmering rice

It was then that I remembered risi e bisi meaning “rice and peas.” The rice is arborio, the same short grain, starchy rice used in risotto. But the differences between risotto and risi are that the later has a thinner consistency (think really thick stew) that is just thick enough to be eaten with a fork, and also that the rice is cooked by simmering in water rather than the slow-stirring risotto method (see: Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Risotto).

Making Risi e Bisi

Making Risi e Bisi

This truly was a simple, filling, tasty dish that seemed just right for the tail-end of spring.

And it turns out it goes really well with BBQ, go figure. I served the leftover risi e bisi at my family’s request with our BBQ dinner (thanks, Twin Anchors) on father’s day and it was a huge hit!

Here’s the recipe:

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