risi e bisi

Easy peasy risi e bisi (recipe)

Recipe #3 in my new vegitalian series

This is not the traditional recipe for risi e bisi (Venetian rice and peas). You will find that in my post here and there’s another version here. This is the version that my mother cooked for me when I was a kid. She, in turn, had learned it from my Venetian grandmother. So this is certainly a version that Venetian women who learned to cook in the 1920s made in the 1950s.

I’m including this version of risi e bisi for several reasons. Firstly, it’s takes less time than the original and doesn’t involve stirring a pot of rice, without interruption, for twenty minutes meaning you can’t do anything else. Secondly, it’s a lighter dish which includes no oil, no butter, in fact no fat at all apart from a small amount of cheese added at the end. You could even make it without the cheese if you wish. Thirdly, it’s delicious. The combination of rice and peas is a classic one that you find in many dishes around the world, and is a remarkable marriage of ingredients that go together. Whoever was the first person to combine the two deserves a statue.

Finally, for me, this is the taste of childhood. It’s the very epitome of comfort food and that’s something important to keep us going in these difficult times.

A few final notes: if you are not strictly vegetarian, you should use parmigiano reggiano cheese for this. If you are, you should use a vegetarian equivalent (i.e. one made with non-animal rennet) of which there are many available now. You can also jazz this dish up a little—even if in my mind it’s unnecessary—by caramelizing the peas. If you don’t know how to do this, I will add a little tutorial in the coming days.

Easy peasy risi e bisi

This is not the traditional recipe for risi e bisi (Venetian rice and peas). This is the version that my mother cooked for me when I was a kid. Print This
Serves: 2 Cooking Time:
Rating: 3.3/5
( 3 voted )


  • 200g (7 ounces) Italian rice (arborio, carnaroli, etc)

  • 200g (7 ounces) fresh or frozen peas

  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh or dried mint (chopped)

  • salt

  • vegetarian parmesan-style cheese

  • pepper



  1. Bring 1 litre (2 pints) of water to the boil. Add one teaspoon of rock salt and stir to dissolve. 
  2. Add the rice and cook until al dente, about 15 minutes depending on the rice. 
  3. In the mean time, put the peas, mint, salt to taste, and a little water in a separate saucepan and cook until they are warmed through. 
  4. Drain the rice, add the peas and stir.
  5. Lightly cover the top of the rice and peas with some grated cheese and a little black pepper. 
  6. Stir until all the cheese has melted and then serve. 

To adapt this recipe for more people allow 100g (7 ounces) of rice and 100g (7 ounces) of peas per person. For every 100g (7 ounces) of rice add 1/2 litre (1 pint) cooking water and 1/2 a teaspoon of rock salt. 

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