Risi e bisi

Venezia crestIf you prepare this on April 25, you will be carrying on an ancient tradition that dates from the days of the Republic of Venice. This springtime dish of creamy rice and peas is made in Venice and its surroundings area to celebrate the feast day of its patron, Saint Mark. Almost the consistency of a soup, risi e bisi should be served as a course of its own. In the past, risi e bisi was presented on Saint Mark’s Day with much ceremony to the doge, the leader of Venice. You can streamline this dish by using small frozen peas.
Serves 6

  • 500g risotto rice
  • 700g fresh peas (unshelled weight), shelled
  • 80g butter
  • 40g pancetta, cut into small cubes
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • parsley to taste, finely chopped
  • 60g parmesan cheese
  • stock (vegetable or chicken)
  1. Fry the onion, pancetta and parsley in half the butter. When the onions start to colour, add the peas and cook for a further 5 minutes
  2. Add a couple of ladles of hot stock and bring to the boil. Add the rice and stir.
  3. Continue in the usual way for risotto – note: use more stock than for a standard risotto. The finished dish should be quite sloppy – almost like a soup.
  4. When the rice is cooked al dente remove from the heat. Adjust salt and pepper, stir in the parmesan and the rest of the butter. Serve immediately

Giorgio Mantello used the picture above to illustrate an article on his site a cena da Giorgio. This is a translation of his comments:

I chose this image because it shows excellentlyย  what should be the consistency of the risotto – neither too thick nor too liquid – in Venice is said to be “moeche”. which translates as soft and a little sticky. enjoy!

6 thoughts on “Risi e bisi

  1. Serendipity is a wonderful thing ๐Ÿ™‚

    You’ve got me thinking about egg and chips now! I think I’ll visit my neighbour who has a cousin/father/friend/grandmother (I’ve never quite worked out which) who keeps chickens to get the necessary for Sunday tea. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. ๐Ÿ™‚ I look often, and had not decided what to cook for my daughter (always tempted to give her egg and chips if I am eating out ) and low and behold a new recipe and I had all the ingredients:)

    Fish, the sea, wine and paid for! MY perfect night;)


  3. The word ‘corking’ seems to be particularly apt. It brings to mind a very good wine ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’ve just got back from an evening at a fish restaurant by the sea. My students’ end of term treat for their teacher. Six hours of fantastic food and wine. I like it here ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I’m glad to hear lunch is still on ๐Ÿ™‚


    PS This must be the quickest feedback I’ve ever had. I only posted this recipe this afternoon ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

  4. Another corking recipe:) Only had a taster – cooked it for my daughter, I was eating out later!

    I have to stop visiting your site – it makes me drool and then I eat tooooooooooooo much!

    I haven’t forgotten you are buying me lunch though ๐Ÿ˜‰

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