Rise e Bise (Venetian Rice & Peas)

This classic Venetian dish in the past was only prepared on the feast days decreed by the Doge (Venice’s ruler), and though one can now prepare risi e bisi at any time, the dish really shines only when freshly harvested baby peas are available. Note, this recipe calls for more peas than you will get in your box. You can pick up more peas at market. Or just use what you have, it will still taste fantastic! From About.com

  • freshly shelled peas, approx 3lbs more or less as you desire
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 T unsalted butter, plus 1 T to finish
  • 1-2 T olive oil
  • several slices pancetta (approx. 2 oz)
  • 1/2 C dry white wine (optional)
  • 1 1/2 C short grained Arborio rice
  • 3 C green pea broth*
  • handful of parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 C freshly grated Parmigiano (plus more at the table)

*To make a simple green pea broth combine pea shells with 4 1/2 cups water and a pinch of salt. Simmer over low heat until you have a fragrant, green broth. Strain and return to the stove to keep warm while making the risotto.

Finely slice the onion and finely mince the pancetta. Sauté onion & pancetta in 3 T butter and olive oil.

As soon as the onion turns golden add the rice and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the rice turns translucent (3-5 minutes).

Add white wine and cook until absorbed. Then add warm green pea broth one ladle at a time, letting each ladle fully absorb before adding the next. When the rice is half done, add the peas together with a handful of minced parsley. When the rice reaches the al dente stage, turn off the flame, stir in a chunk of unsalted butter the size of a walnut, and add grated Parmigiano. If you like it, freshly ground white pepper too.