November 28, 2010

Risi e Bisi

I love risotto and always look forward to fall and winter, which is the only time I want to stand over a simmering pot stirring and stirring.

Risi e bisi is a traditional Venetian spring dish and is supposed to be soupier in consistency than a risotto. As you can see from the above photo, mine certainly looks like a risotto. (Also, being a spring dish, you are supposed to make it with fresh peas, but frozen ones work fine.) The last time I made this dish (before BlB), I did manage to get it soupier, but no matter, it tastes delicious either way! And you will enjoy it in any season!

I combined two risi e bisi recipes to make this dish: one from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Italian Cooking and one from The Williams-Sonoma Cookbook.

Risi e Bisi
Serves 4-6

6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
6 ounces pancetta, coarsely chopped
1 3/4 cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups fresh or partially thawed frozen peas
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1. In a medium saucepan, bring the stock to a gentle simmer and maintain over low heat.

2. In a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the pancetta and saute until golden brown, about 5 minutes.

3. Add the rice and stir until each grain is coated with oil and hot, about 2-3 minutes. Add the wine and stir until it is completely absorbed. Add 1/2 cup of the stock and stir until it is absorbed. Continue to add the stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring and allowing it to be absorbed before adding more, for about 10 minutes (if using frozen peas, cook for 15 minutes before adding peas).

4. Stir in the peas and the parsley and season with salt and pepper. Resume adding the stock 1/2 cup at a time and stirring until the rice is tender yet firm to the bite, 8-10 minutes more.

5. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese and butter. Check seasoning and serve with more grated Parmigiano.

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