Thursday, April 24, 2008

Risi e Bisi ~ Venetian Rice and Peas

St. Mark the Evangelist
Image from Catholic Culture

In Catholic Traditions in the Home and Classroom, author Ann Ball recommends making Risi e Bisi for the Feast of St. Mark, whose feast is celebrated on April 25th.

St. Mark was martyred in Alexandria, but his relics were brought to Venice in the ninth century.

Serving Risi e Bisi, a springtime soup of creamy rice and peas, on the Feast of St. Mark, is an ancient tradition that dates from the days of the Republic of Venice. Back then, this soup would be presented with much ceremony to the doge, the leader of Venice.

Ann Ball tells us that "the peas represent the arrival of spring, and the rice represents abundance."

The following recipe is adapted from a Rachel Ray recipe that I found on Food Network:

Risi e Bisi


1 quart chicken broth
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 rounded cup white rice
Salt and pepper
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese


Place chicken broth in a small pot and warm over low heat.

Heat a medium sized skillet over medium heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil, and garlic. Saute garlic 1 minute, then add rice. Toast the rice 2 minutes, then ladle in 1/3 of the stock. Bring to a bubble. Stir rice occasionally, allowing the rice to get starchy and the stock to cook into the rice. Add more stock when rice starts to become dry. Continue stirring and ladling broth until rice is al dente, 22 minutes. Stir in peas and cheese and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve immediately.

For a vegetarian version of this dish, substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth.

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  1. Thank you for sharing. Last night, I made a huge brown rice and black bean salad (different recipe) for my husband to take to work for a potluck. He ended up taking less than half of the salad, so we will be eating beans and rice tonight and on St. Mark's Feast Day, tomorrow.
    If I have time, I hope to share a photo of the cupcakes that my eldest daughter made in honor of St. George yesterday.

  2. I love the name of this dish! Perfect for a Friday meal.

  3. We will be making this again!! My family LOVED it. It was very easy too!