Risi e Bisi (Rice & Peas)

“Every spring I always think of one special dish my late nonna would make. Both nonna Rosina and nonno Giovanni took great pride in their gardens. As soon as the spring peas were ready, nonna Rosina would make risi e bisi, a classic dish of the Veneto region. This is my spinoff of what nonna made.”

–Rosario Caputo, Cibo Bistro

2 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped, small dice
3 cloves garlic, minced
150 g guanciale (cured pork jowl) cubed
1 c arborio rice
1 c dry white wine
6 c vegetable or chicken stock
1 c fresh garden peas
¼ c fresh mint (optional, I love the mint with the peas)
½ c grated Parmigiano Reggiano

In a large pot heat your stock. Heat oil in a medium pot on medium heat. Once oil is hot, add jowl and cook until just crisp. Remove jowl from the pot and reserve. Add onion and garlic and cook until garlic is light brown in colour. Add rice and start stirring; sauté for about 3 minutes. Add white wine and stir until it’s almost dry. At this point, slowly start adding your warm stock. Constantly stirring, as your risotto starts absorbing more of the liquid, add another ladle. Do not rush this process. Always keep the rice moving in the pot. When you get to the last cup of stock add your peas, jowl, and cheese. Stir everything in and taste your rice for seasoning. Adjust seasoning if necessary with salt. Also check the doneness of the rice. It should be al dente, not crunchy and not mushy. Add your mint and the dish is complete. It should be silky and have some slow movement to it but not soupy.

Serves 4.