Risi e Bisi

A classic Venetian dish, Risi e Bisi (ree-see ay bee-see) is a delicious combination of rice, peas and bacon. Serve Risi e

Bisi as a deliciously different first course to an Italian meal or, with lots of crusty bread and mixed salad, for a sustaining lunch or supper. A well-chilled Frascati zoine would complement this dish well. Ham may be substituted for the bacon if you prefer.

1 tablespoon olive oil

6 oz. lean bacon, chopped

2 oz. butter

1 onion, thinly sliced

1 lb. peas, weighed after shelling

1 lb. Italian rice, such as Avorio

3 fl. oz. dry white wine

2 pints home-made chicken stock, boiling

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoon black pepper

4 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated

In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the oil over moderate heat. When the oil is hot, add the bacon and fry, stirring occasion-ally, for 5 minutes or until it is crisp and golden brown. With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to kitchen paper towels to drain.

Add 1 ounce of butter to the pan and melt it over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes or until the onion is soft and translucent but not brown.

Add the peas and rice to the pan, reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Pour over the wine and approximately one-third of the boiling stock. Regulate the heat so that the rice is bubbling all the time. Stir the rice occasionally with a fork. When the rice swells and the liquid is absorbed add another one-third of the stock.

Continue cooking the rice in this way until it is tender and moist but still firm.

Stir in the bacon, the remaining butter, the salt, pepper and grated cheese and mix well to blend. Simmer for 1 minute, stirring frequently.

Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the risotto to a warmed serving bowl. Serve at once.

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