Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Risi e Bisi (Rice with Peas)

This is a great Italian dish because just when I think I have nothing in the cupboards for dinner I can look and usually I have the ingredients on hand for Risi e Bisi. I made this last night but did not take a picture before we reached the bottom of the pot so I apologize. This is basically cooked in the same way you would cook a risotto.

Risi e Bisi
knob of butter (I told you I don't measure ... but probably 2 T.)
olive oil (couple swirls ... probably 1.5-2 T.)
shallot (or 1/2 onion), finely diced
2 stalks of celery plus some leaves for flavor, finely diced
2-3 slices of prosciutto cotto, diced up (this is basically cooked ham ... not to be confused with prosciutto crudo which is the Italian cured ham ... any cooked deli ham would work fine)
1 heaping cup of arborio rice (thick grained Italian white rice)
1 wineglass of dry white wine
1-1.5 c. frozen peas, thawed
1 liter of vegetable broth
handful of Parmesan cheese

Heat vegetable broth to a low boil in a small saucepan. Heat the butter and oil in a large pan on the stovetop. Add your finely diced shallot, celery and leaves and cook on low heat for 15 minutes (this is called making a sofritto ... from here on out it's a sofritto ... come on we're having fun aren't we? ... By the way almost every Italian dish starts out with a sofritto of vegetables of some kind). Next, add your diced ham to the sofritto and mix around for a couple of minutes. Add the arborio rice to this sofritto and let the rice soak up any remaining oil or butter ... stir the rice frequently so that it doesn't stick to your pan ... but let it fry slowly along with the sofritto until the grains become translucent and they are nearly bursting (couple minutes more). Carefully add your white wine ... the rice should soak this up very quickly. When the liquid has evaporated add a ladle of veggie broth, allowing the rice to soak up all the liquid before adding another ladle. After the first couple of ladles of broth, carefully stir your peas in and continue adding one ladle of broth at a time, until the rice is cooked but firm (not mushy), usually around 30 minutes. Stir in a handful of parmesan cheese. The trick to risotto is to stir the mixture a lot in between the ladles of broth because this allows the starch from the rice to be released and you are left with a nice creamy risotto.


wirrek said...

I seen Risi e Bisi on several food network shows, it is nice to see the real thing. It sounds good! I has been awhile since I have made a risotto, not sure why, I love them. Thanks for sharing!

wirrek said...

have seen, I have seen. Why doesn't it just let me edit?