Risi e bisi

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Feeds


Appears in

Old Food

Old Food

By Jill Dupleix

Published 1998

  • About

It’s not a risotto, nor is it a soup, but some Venetian concept in between that is slightly soupy but should still be able to be eaten with a fork. Risi e bisi (rice and peas) used to be served on April 25th at the annual feast of San Marco, the patron saint of Venice, in celebration of the first springtime peas from the kitchen gardens of the Venetian lagoons.


  • 4 slices prosciutto or pancetta
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 2 cups fresh, shelled peas
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 6 cups hot chicken broth
  • 300 g (11 oz) arborio rice
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp freshly grated Parmigiano cheese


Chop prosciutto or pancetta into small squares.

Melt butter and olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add prosciutto or pancetta, onion and parsley, and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, until onion is soft. Add peas, sugar and 2 cups of hot chicken broth, and cook gently for 10 to 15 minutes. Add remaining hot chicken broth and bring to the boil. Add rice, salt and pepper and cook gently, stirring occasionally, until the rice is tender but not mushy (around 20 to 30 minutes).

Remove from the heat, stir in grated cheese and serve in wide, shallow soup bowls.