Risi e Bisi with Ham and Parmesan
A favorite of the rice-loving Venetians, the soup called risi e bisi (rice and peas) is so thick that it's sometimes mistaken for risotto. We've added diced ham and plenty of Parmesan to make a satisfying dinner.
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 rib celery, chopped
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 quarts canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
- 1 1/2 cups rice, preferably arborio
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
- 2 cups frozen petite peas (one 10-ounce package), defrosted
- 1 1/4- pounds piece deli ham, cut into small dice
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
- 1. In a large pot, melt the butter over moderately low heat. Add the onion, celery, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and boil until it almost evaporates, about 5 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Boil until the liquid is reduced to approximately 7 cups, about 20 minutes.
- 2. Add the rice, parsley, and salt and cook at a low boil, stirring occasionally, until the rice is just tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the peas, ham, Parmesan, and pepper.
- Petite Peas: Peas are one of the few vegetables that are usually better frozen than fresh. Frozen petite peas consistently have good flavor, a pleasant sweetness, and tender texture. In the springtime, if you can find truly fresh, sweet peas, by all means use them here. Just add them with the rice and parsley.
- Wine Recommendation: A light and unpretentious red will make the best partner for this dish. Look to the Veneto for the tart-cherry flavor of a crisp Bardolino or a slightly fuller Valpolicella.
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