Spring, Stories

Risi e bisi, a Venetian classic


I know I came late to the fantastic world of Instagram reels & video recipes, but as a photographer, I have a certain stubborn reluctance towards “moving images”, simply because in my mind I keep imagining the scenes I want to represent as “static”, from my usual (and comfortable) frontal – or at most zenithal – point of view.
I’m slowly getting into them though, experimenting and having fun, so today I am here to show you how to make the authentic Venetian “Risi e Bisi“, a traditional and easy recipe perfect for the Spring season when you can find the first sweet new peas.
The peculiarity of almost all Venetian risottos is that they are actually somewhere between a risotto and a soup; the secret to making them perfect is to leave them soft, all’onda, as the Italians say.  Before I get to the recipe, a quick shout out to my kitties Orsetta & Biancotty, who willingly collaborated on these shoots with their usual excessive but cute intrusiveness, and to Son De Flor for the beautiful dress I’m wearing in this video. (You can check here their gorgeous linen clothing collection).

Risi e bisi, a Venetian classic
Cuisine: Venetian cuisine
for 4 persons
  • 1,5 kg of young peas in their pods
  • 380 g risotto rice (Carnaroli or Vialone Nano)
  • 1 white onion
  • 1 handful of fresh parsley
  • 1 liter of good homemade vegetable stock (*read instructions below)
  • 100 g of minced pancetta (lean bacon), optional
  • ½ glass of dry white wine
  • 2 knobs (40 g) of unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons of good extra virgin olive oil
  • A lot of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and white pepper
  1. Shell the peas but don’t throw the pods away. Rinse them and put them in a stockpot with a sliced onion and two sliced carrots, a pinch of salt and just enough water to cover. Simmer for a half hour or more until you have a flavorsome broth.
  2. In a proper risotto pot fry lightly 1 sliced onion, minced lean bacon (optional) and the parsley finely chopped in the olive oil and a knob of butter.
  3. When the onion is golden add the shelled peas, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring gently.
  4. Stir in the rice and cook until all the grains begin to look translucent, then simmer with white wine and cook for a couple of minutes until reduced.
  5. Turn down the heat to a minimum and add a ladleful of boiling stock. Cook, stirring all the while, until most of the liquid has been absorbed, then repeat until the rice is tender and the dish has a soft, creamy, soupy consistency (you may not need all the stock).
  6. Flavor with a knob of butter and a lot of grated Parmesan cheese to get the perfect "mantecatura".
  7. The dish should be rather liquid and flow easily, all’onda or ‘like a wave’ as they say in Italian.
  8. If you like, add some white freshly ground pepper and some chopped parsley before serving.


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1 Comment

  • Avatar
    Reply Jeffrey Diamond 08/04/2022 at 1:41

    Simply elegant and beautiful Zaira. I can see a TV spot for you in the near future.

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