Venetian Rice & Peas (Risi e Bisi)

In Venice, this classic dish is traditionally served on April 25th, St. Mark’s Day. This version was adapted from Michela Tasca, owner of Ca’ de Memi Farm and Bed and Breakfast in Piombino Dese, outside of Venice, Italy, via 177MilkStreet.com, contributed by Diane Unger.

The recipe is similar to risotto in its cooking method and because it incorporates arborio rice, but this dish is much more fluid and soupy. It is definitely for pea lovers! Whole peas and puréed peas are mixed into the creamy rice. I loved the vibrant, beautiful color of the finished dish.

Yield: Serves 4

  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 large white onion, half thinly sliced and half finely chopped
  • 1 medium celery stalk, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1 quart chicken stock or broth
  • 2 cups frozen peas, divided (1 cup frozen, 1 cup thawed & at room temperature)
  • 2 cups lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 ounces pancetta, cubed or finely chopped (I used uncured pancetta)
  • 4 T salted butter, cut into 1 tablespoon pieces, divided
  • 1 cup arborio or vialone nano rice
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 ounces (1 cup) finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more to serve (I used Parmigiano-Reggiano)
  1. In a medium pot, combine the carrot, sliced onion (reserve the chopped onion), celery, fennel seeds, stock (or broth), and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil over medium-high, then cover, reduce to medium-low and simmer until the vegetables have softened, 10 to 12 minutes.
  2. Remove the pot from the heat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the solids to a blender, draining as much of the liquid as possible. (It’s okay if some of the fennel seeds remain in the pot.) (I used a Vitamix.)
  3. Add 1 cup of the stock to the blender along with the parsley and the still-frozen peas. (The frozen peas cool the mixture so that it remains a brilliant green.) Leave the remaining stock in the pot, covered, so that it remains warm. (I kept the pot over low heat.)
  4. Blend the solids, parsley, frozen peas, and cup of stock until the mixture is completely smooth, 1 to 2 minutes; set aside. (You should have about 3 cups of purée.)
  5. In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the reserved chopped onion, pancetta, and 2 tablespoons of butter. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion and pancetta are lightly browned and the pancetta fat is rendered, 6 to 8 minutes. (I used a low, wide, enameled cast iron pot.)
  6. Add the rice and stir until the grains are coated with fat, about 1 minute.
  7. Stir in 1 cup of warm stock. Cook, stirring, until the liquid is mostly absorbed, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  8. Ladle in additional stock to barely cover the rice, about 1 cup at a time, and simmer, stirring often, until the liquid is mostly absorbed, about 5 minutes per addition.
  9. Repeat the addition of stock, about 4 or 5 times, until the rice is al dente and most of the liquid has been absorbed. This process should take 25 to 30 minutes.
  10. Remove the pan from the heat and let stand uncovered for 5 minutes.
  11. Add the thawed, room temperature peas and the reserved purée; stir into heated through, about 1 minute.
  12. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of butter; stir until melted.
  13. Stir in the Parmesan. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  14. Serve sprinkled with additional grated Parmesan, as desired.

Avgolemono Rice

After sharing my friend’s Greek Meat Stuffing recipe, I realized that I have other Greek-inspired dishes to share. As avgolemono soup is one of my all-time favorites, I must say that the star of this dish is the creamy but cream-less egg-lemon sauce. It seems to bring brightness that should be served in springtime. 🙂

This dish was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Gabrielle Hamilton. I used chicken stock instead of lamb stock. The author states that it is easier to perfect the rice by cooking it pasta style, in seasoned, boiling water. She also suggests using the delicious sauce with asparagus, roasted salmon, or poached chicken. Nice.

  • coarse salt, for cooking rice and for seasoning the sauce
  • 1 ¼ cups jasmine or Basmati rice
  • 1 cup frozen small peas
  • 2 cups homemade brown lamb stock, turkey stock, or chicken stock
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 scallions, sliced in 1/3-inch rings, on a slight bias
  • freshly ground black pepper
  1. Bring 8 cups of water to a rolling boil. Season lightly with salt.
  2. Rinse the rice, and pour into boiling water, stirring well to keep grains from clumping. When the water returns to a boil, lower heat a little to a gentle boil, and cook the rice “pasta-style” until just done. (I cooked the rice 8-9 minutes.)
  3. Drain the rice through a fine-mesh colander, giving it a couple of hearty shakes to remove the last of the water.
  4. Immediately spread cooked rice out on a sheet pan lined with parchment to cool quickly. Do not pat down or pack the rice — you want it fluffy and to be able to cool and dry quickly.
  5. Rinse the peas under cool water briefly to remove any frosty crystals.
  6. Bring the stock to a simmer.
  7. In a stainless bowl, whisk egg yolks and lemon juice together until fully incorporated.
  8. In a slow steady stream, while constantly whisking, add half the hot stock into the yolks. Then whisk the egg-lemon mixture back into the remaining stock.
  9. Return the pot to the stove, and simmer (still whisking constantly so as not to cook the egg too fast and too hard), until the avgolemono sauce is full-bodied, approximately the consistency of buttermilk — a minute or 90 seconds more.
  10. Stir in the scallions, then the peas, and when they both turn bright green, turn off the heat, and stir in the rice.
  11. Season to taste with salt and pepper. The rice should be as soupy as risi e bisi (Italian rice and peas) and as creamy as risotto.

Roasted Chicken Thighs over Herbed Pea & Spinach Puree

Another green sauce! The last one, for now… 🙂

This is a wonderful, quick and healthy dish. As a sauce fan, I loved the idea of serving the roasted chicken over a colorful and tasty vegetable purée.

This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living. I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of bone-in, and reduced the oven temperature to accommodate roasting potatoes and asparagus simultaneously. I also incorporated pan drippings into the vegetable puree. Great.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen peas
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, divided, and 1 T fresh lemon juice, plus wedges for serving, optional
  • 3 T freshly grated Pecorino Romano, divided
  • 3 T  extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup (packed) baby spinach
  • 10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees, on convection roast.

  2. Cook peas in a small pot of boiling salted water 1 minute. Drain; transfer to a food processor.

  3. Add 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, 1 tablespoon juice, 1 tablespoon cheese, and 2 tablespoons oil. Season with salt and pepper; process until texture is similar to hummus. Add cilantro and 1 packed cup spinach; puree.

  4. Pat chicken dry; season with salt and pepper.

  5. Stir together remaining 2 tablespoons cheese and 1/2 teaspoon zest.

  6. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add chicken; cook until browned, about 4 to 5 minutes. Spoon off fat and incorporate into puree, to taste. Discard excess fat left in the pan.

  7. Flip chicken and sprinkle with cheese mixture. Transfer to oven; roast until cooked through, about 15 minutes.

  8. Serve chicken over puree, with lemon wedges, if desired.

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Four Years Ago:

Pappardelle with Mashed Peas and Pecorino

When I received the May issue of Martha Stewart Living, I earmarked every pea recipe- they all sounded so delicious!! I picked this buttery, sweet, rich, and easy dish to try first. (We also can’t eat enough pappardelle in my house!) My son declared that it was “addictive.” 🙂 It was absolutely DELICIOUS. This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

  • 3 cups shelled green peas (from 3 pounds in pods), or 3 cups frozen peas, thawed
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1 pound pappardelle, tagliatelle, or fettuccine
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano
  1. Blanch fresh peas in a large pot of salted boiling water until bright green and just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a colander with a slotted spoon. (If using frozen peas, skip this step.)
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Add shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3 minutes. Add peas and lightly mash with the back of a spoon. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Meanwhile, return pot of water to a boil and cook pasta until al dente, according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup pasta water; drain. (I put a measuring cup in my colander so that I don’t forget to reserve the pasta water!)
  4. Add pasta to skillet and cook, tossing to coat with pea mixture. Add butter and 1/2 cup pasta water; toss to evenly coat (adding more water if necessary). Top with cheese, season with pepper, and serve.

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Two Years Ago:

Pea Risotto

IMG_6819

I was inspired to make risotto incorporating pea puree after reading this post on Grub Blog. I love using a pressure cooker to make risotto as a quick weeknight meal. The pea puree added color and wonderful creaminess to this risotto. The optional crispy bacon topping was the icing on the cake! 🙂

Yield: Serves 6

For the Purée:

  • 10 ounces frozen sweet peas (from a 1 pound (16 ounce) bag)
  • 2 T avocado or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup reserved cooking water (from peas)
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Risotto:

  • 1-2 T avocado or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, diced small
  • 2 sweet or yellow onions, diced small
  • 2 cloves of garlic, diced small
  • 2 celery stalks, diced small
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 cups arborio rice

For the Final Touches:

  • 1/2 cup Parmesan
  • 6 ounces frozen sweet peas
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • bacon, cooked and crumbled, optional
  1. Make the purée: Blanch the peas in a pan of salted, boiling water for 2 minutes or until tender. Drain (reserving the cooking water) and transfer to a food processor or blender. Add the oil and blend, slowly add the cooking water until a pouring consistency is achieved. Season to taste and set aside.
  2. Cook and crumble the bacon, if using. (I cooked mine in the microwave, covered with paper towels, for approximately 1 minute per slice.)
  3. Dice the shallot, onion, garlic & celery in a food processor, if desired.
  4. Heat oil in a 5 to 7 quart pressure cooker over medium heat. Add the diced vegetables and cook for 2 minutes, or until softened. Add the rice and stir until it turns opaque, about 2 minutes. Add the unheated stock, white wine, and pea puree.
  5. Lock the lid in place and bring to high pressure over high heat. Adjust the heat to maintain high pressure. Cook for 7 minutes. Release the pressure according to the manufacturer’s instructions or place the pot under running cold water. Carefully open the lid, being careful of the steam.
  6. Stir in the reserved peas and the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, sprinkled with the bacon, if desired.

One Year Ago:

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