Giulina's Risi e bisi

Giulina had a career catering for the school children in Venice - apparently her pasta and beans was a favourite. These days, she lives in Murano; it's close to Sant'Erasmo island where she sourced her organic peas. Giulina thinks organic pods are essential if you want to make a stock from the pea pods. For this recipe she includes a parsley salsa - this is a practical variation; living on her own she doesn't use herbs fast enough so she keeps them 'sott'olio' - under oil- until she needs them.

1kg peas in the pods,

1 onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons chopped parsley + 2 more for later

350g risotto rice such as Vialone Nano

good knob of butter - about 20g

Several handfuls of grated Parmigiano Reggiano - 30g or so


Shell the peas, and place the pods in a saucepan with plenty of water. Cover, and simmer gently for around an hour until they're very soft. Or use a pressure cooker to speed up the process. Scoop out the pods and pass them through a food mill, scraping the resulting puree into the stock. Season with salt.

Use a sauté pan to soften the onion in a little olive oil.  Add the peas: how many is up to you; it doesn't have to be all of the ones you shelled. Sauté  them for a few minutes before adding the rice and parsley; keep frying and stirring for another minute, season with salt, and then start ladling in the pea stock a little at a time.

You're aiming for a sloppy risotto. Once the rice is cooked (how long depends on the variety; check the packet for an estimate) Stir in more parsley, the butter and Parmigiano.  Let it rest for a few minutes - if it thickens up too much, stir in a little more stock. Serve with more cheese.

Here is the video: