Yield
4

Similar to Risi e Bisi, the porridgelike Venetian dish of rice and peas, this satisfying vegetarian stew is a great way to use arborio or other medium-grain Italian rice, and it's easier than risotto.

How to Make It

Step 1

In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups of the water to a boil. Add the lentils, cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until almost tender, about 30 minutes. Add a large pinch of salt and simmer until tender, about 3 minutes longer. Drain the lentils and spread them on a plate to cool.

Step 2

Heat the olive oil in a medium, enameled cast-iron casserole. Add the onion and shallot and cook over low heat, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add 2 cups of the water, 1/4 cup of the parsley, the thyme, bay leaf and a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over moderately low heat for 15 minutes. Add the peas, rice and the remaining 1 quart of water. Cover and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes.

Step 3

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, toss the olives with the garlic, lemon zest and the remaining 1/2 cup of parsley. Season the gremolata with salt.

Step 4

Gently stir the lentils into the stew. Add the romaine and crushed red pepper, cover and cook over low heat until the lettuce is wilted, about 3 minutes. Season with salt. Discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Ladle the stew into bowls, top with the olive gremolata and serve.

Step 5

Wine Recommendation: The salty olives and earthy lentils in this stew call for a big white (try the 1999 Regaleali Bianco from Sicily) or a light red with good acidity (such as the 2000 Antinori Santa Cristina).

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