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Risi e bisi (Rice with Peas)

Risi e bisi (Rice with Peas)

“The peas are green! Spring has begun! Long live Venice!” The April 25th Venice tradition is for the Doge (the Chief Magistrate) to taste a spoonful of the city’s most famous dish, Risi e bisi, in public to annunciate the start the Feast of Saint Mark. Risi e bisi (Rice with Peas) marks the start of spring – join Bijouxs in celebrating this little jewel of dish.


I wanted to bring you again the recipe from the charming cookbook Venice and Food by Sally Spector. The book transports the armchair traveler on a journey to sample the foods of Venice. Hard to believe I first posted this way back in 2011. I perfected my version of Rise e bisi via this book, and relish the luxurious palate created from the recipe’s simple ingredients. A mere five ingredients; fresh peas, onion, butter, olive oil and Parmesan cheese make up a dish that is so much more than a plate of rice and peas. All traditions considered, Risi e bisi is a risotto dish with a special characteristic, that of riso all’ onada, rice with a wave, a risotto that is more liquid than its traditional Milanese counterpart.


Risi e bisi really needs to be made with fresh English peas, you will be making a broth using the shells. In keeping with the Bijouxs goal of bringing you seasonal recipes, you will encounter fresh peas this month in markets such as Whole Foods, of course at local farmers markets. The true jewels of this dish are the peas, little strings of pearls. The pods do not go to waste, they are gently simmered to create a pea-infused broth that you will add as you cook the risotto. If you extend Risi e bisi your full attention for the 18 -20 minutes required (silence the iPhone), you will be rewarded with a creamy plate of Risi e Bisi.

Risi be Bisi

Risi e Bisi

Viva Venezia! Spring has begun! Grazie. True Bijouxs.


As always, enjoy. B

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