Risi E Bisi

I think every culture has its own version of rice and beans. No wonder that when the Toddler first started eating solid food, Risi e Bisi (rice and green peas) was, and still is, one of his fave, as if it is already ingrained in his DNA.

Risi e Bisi is the quintessential Spring dish. It only looks ritzy, but like any other rice and beans variety, it can prepared from humble, simple ingredients that can be easily and affordably found anywhere. Well, of course, you can make it as ritzy and as authentic as you like: imported Arborio, butter, even freshly shelled petit pois. But as I hope you will find that my humble version, which is made from any short-grained rice (in fact, I use Kokuho variety here), frozen petite peas, and "Better than Bouillon," isn't half as bad. In fact, I dare say it is as good as any renditions I've tried.

Unlike the time-consuming risotto, Risi e Bisi is the set-it-and-forget-it type of dish, making it that much more appealing for busy moms like me. 

Finally, the proportion cannot be simpler. I can shop and make Risi e Bisi on a whim: one pound frozen peas, one pint broth (that is one carton), one cup rice and one shallot (which can be easily substituted with onion or spring onion).

Risi e Bisi

Makes 1 good-sized pot

1 large shallot, chopped or 1/4 medium onion, finely minced
2 Tbs butter (or sub with 2 Tbs olive oil for lighter version)
1 cup short-grained rice, such as Arborio
1 lb frozen petit pois/peas
Salt & pepper to taste

1 pint chicken broth + 1 cup water
3 cups water + 2 tsp "Better than Bouillon" (basically to make 3 cups total liquid broth)

Handulfs of parmesan to serve.

On a small pan, bring the broth to low simmer while preparing the other ingredients.
On a heavy pot, melt butter and saute shallot/onion until translucent. Once translucent and fragrant, stir in rice, frozen peas and pour the simmering broth all at once. Season and bring everything to a simmer, stirring once or twice. Cover and simmer on low for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
At the end of 20 minutes, check the rice: it should be thoroughly cooked but not a mush/has not turned into porridge. It can be a bit dry so if you want it a bit more soupy, you can add some water. 
Serve with a handful of parmesan. 

Buon Appetito!


  1. That sounds absolutely amazing to me right now, I love risotto type dishes and I love peas. I'll go shopping for the ingredients and try to make it some time this week!

    1. This was the easiest, yummiest thing I made this week. I hope you like it!