The entire city of Venice and inhabitants of the six sestieri wards infact forget all divas and snob cinema flair, participating instead in loud hollering cheers, drinking and unplanned diving in canals from parked boats, madly rooting for their colorful team of upright rowers.
Here's the risi e bisi basics, as handed down by Angelo, the gondolier who kissed me:
50 g (1/4 cup) pancetta, finely minced
400 g (2 cups/14 oz) Arborio or Vialone Nano rice
70 g (1/3 cup) extra virgin olive oil
70 g (1/3 cup) unsalted butter
1.5 kg (3.3 lbs) fresh baby peas, unshelled Note: don't discard the shells!
Freshly grated Parmigiano
Begin making a green pea broth by cooking the saved shells of the peas in lightly salted water and then saving the strained liquid. For a richer outcome, Angelo suggests to boil the pea shells in chicken broth instead of water.
Finely slice the onion and sauté it in oil and butter with the pancetta in a large pot.
When the onion tans, add 1 handful of rice + 1, per each person, and cook, stirring constantly. Do this until the rice is translucent (about 5 minutes).
Here comes the fun part: add the green pea broth one ladle at a time, stirring constantly. When you see the rice has given off some starch and looks half done, add the peas.
When the rice is al dente, remove the pot from the stove, stir in una noce di burro (a gob of butter the size of a walnut) and a few tablespoons of grated Parmigiano. The recipe calls for flecks of flatleaf parsley, but if you've been reading this blog long enough, you'll know I'm not super keen on the herb.
In this recipe the rice should be cooked all'onda (behaving like a wave), in other words creamy and moist, rather than pudding-like firm, like regular risotto. You eat it with a spoon rather than a fork...
|Image © Rachel Roddy