Riso, Piselli e Fegatini in Brodo

Rice, Peas, and Chicken Liver Soup

The Italian word for liver is fegato, with the accent falling on the first syllable. In gastronomic usage, it usually refers to calf’s liver. When you say fegatelli, you are talking about pork livers, so delicious when wrapped in caul and bay leaves and grilled over charcoal. Wherever you see the word fegatini, it means chicken livers, as in this light and delectable soup where small young peas play their sweet counterpoint to the more piquant flavors of the livers.

It is most important not to overcook the livers, either when sautéing them or finishing them in the soup. They must remain pink within and tender throughout.


  • 5 cups rich homemade broth
  • ½ cup shelled fresh, young peas
  • cup rice, preferably Italian Arborio rice
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon onion chopped very fine
  • 3 chicken livers, rinsed, trimmed, and cut into -inch pieces
  • Salt
  • Freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano (Parmesan) for the table


  1. Bring the broth to a boil in a soup pot. Add the peas and rice, stir, cover the pot, and turn the heat down to very low.
  2. Put the butter and onion in a small sauté pan. Cook the onion over medium-low heat until it is tender and translucent, but not browned.
  3. Add the chicken livers and salt and turn up the heat. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, for about 1½ minutes, or just until the livers have lost their raw red color. Turn off the heat and set aside.
  4. When the rice is done—it should be tender, but firm to the bite, about 15 to 20 minutes’ cooking time—put in the chicken livers. Let the broth bubble briskly for a few seconds. Taste and correct for salt. Serve promptly with grated cheese on the side.