Risi e Bisi

Rice and Peas

Preparation info

  • 6–8

    • Difficulty


Appears in

Alastair Little's Italian Kitchen

Alastair Little's Italian Kitchen

By Alastair Little

Published 1996

  • About

The Venetian dialect for rice and peas. Virtually every cuisine has a rice and peas dish: jambalaya in New Orleans, gohan in Japan, and Chinese fried rice with peas. This is not a risotto, but a pea and ham soup thickened to solidity by the rice. To be candid, the end result is not that different.


  • 1.5 kg peas in pod
  • 500 g carnaroli rice (for strict authenticity, but arborio will do)
  • 1.5


Pod the peas. Do not discard the pods, but instead string and chop them into small pieces, then boil for 20 minutes in the broth. Sieve, and discard the pods, but admire the strong pea flavour of the liquid.

Take a heavy casserole or pan and melt the butter over a medium heat. Add the onion and pancetta and sweat for 5 minutes. Add the peas and sweat for a further 5 minutes. Add all the