Top | Vegetarian Main Dishes

Risi e Bisi (Risotto with Peas and Carrots)

(recipe, Caroline Cummins)

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This Venetian classic is basically a soupy risotto. Ladle it out onto plates and eat it with a spoon.


  1. 5 to 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  2. 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  3. 1 Tbsp. butter
  4. 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  5. ½ large onion or 4 shallots, diced
  6. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  7. ½ tsp. dried thyme
  8. 1 cup risotto rice (arborio, carnaroli, etc.)
  9. ⅓ cup white wine, sherry, or marsala
  10. 1½ cups frozen peas
  11. 1 cup diced ham (optional)
  12. Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  13. Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Put the stock into a saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer. Keep the stock warm on a back burner while you make the risotto.
  2. While the stock is warming up, put the olive oil and butter in a large Dutch oven and turn the heat to medium. Add the carrot, onion or shallots, garlic, and thyme, and stir to coat them with the oil. Cook for several minutes, stirring frequently, until the carrots have softened slightly and the onions are turning translucent.
  3. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains with the oil and butter. Cook for a few minutes, to toast the rice grains, then add the alcohol. Cook, stirring frequently, until the rice has absorbed the wine.
  4. Add the frozen peas and about ½ to 1 cup of the warm stock. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid, then add some more stock. Repeat this process (stirring until the stock is mostly absorbed, then adding a little more) until the rice seems mostly cooked.
  5. Add the ham, if using, and grate about ½ cup of Parmesan cheese over the rice. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and add more cheese if you like.
  6. Serve the risotto when the dish seems slightly soupy, spreading a ladleful or two across a plate or pasta dish. For those who want extra cheese, pass the Parmesan at the table.