This recipe derives from a classic Venetian dish, risi e bisi (‘rice and peas’), which was traditionally made to celebrate the feast of San Marco on April 25. Pea season starts somewhat later here, and it makes a lovely early-summer supper.
Ingredients (serves two):
25g (1oz) butter
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
80g (3oz) pancetta, diced
225g (8oz) arborio rice
750–800ml (26–28floz) hot vegetable stock
170g (6oz) peas (shelled weight), shelled
A small handful of parsley, chopped
25g (1oz) Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Heat the butter in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, add the onion and garlic and sauté them gently for about five minutes, until the onion is soft.
2. Add the pancetta and the rice and continue cooking, stirring constantly, for another three minutes.
3. Start adding the stock a ladleful at a time, waiting until each ladleful has been absorbed before adding the next one. Stay with the pan and stir the contents every minute or so; the rice will stick the moment you turn your back. Keep the heat low so the liquid is only just at simmering point; any hotter and it will evaporate instead of being absorbed by the rice.
4. After 10 minutes of adding stock, add the peas, then continue to add more stock for a further 10 minutes or so, until the rice and peas are cooked but still retain some bite.
5. Stir in the parsley and the Parmesan, and season to taste with salt and pepper.Enjoy more Kitchen Garden reading in the monthly magazine. Click here to subscribe.