risi e bisi (risotto?)

Lindsey Bareham

Venetian way of cooking new-season peas with risotto rice. It’s a lovely sloppy bowlful that is neither soup nor risotto but somewhere in between and must be eaten with a spoon. This version made with frozen petits pois is enriched with a little pancetta at the start of cooking and a dollop of creamy mascarpone with grated Parmesan at the end. For extra élan, serve it with anchovy and Parmesan bruschetta.

serves 3-4; prep 15 mins; cook: 25 mins

3 shallots
75g diced pancetta or chopped, smoked, streaky bacon
25g butter
1tbsp olive oil
2 chicken stock cubes
25g flat-leaf parsley
400g frozen petits pois
1/2 glass white wine
200g arborio rice
1tbsp mascarpone
4tbsp grated Parmesan

Peel, halve and finely chop the shallots. Melt the butter with the olive oil in a spacious, heavy-bottomed pan and stir in the shallots and pancetta. Cook for about 8 mins until the shallots are soft and the pancetta crisp.

Dissolve the stock cubes in 1 litre of boiling water. Chop the parsley. Stir the petits pois and parsley into the shallots, then add the wine and enough stock to just cover. Boil for 2 mins, stir in the rice and add the rest of the stock. Return to the boil, then simmer for 15-20 mins until the rice is tender.

Stir in the mascarpone and 1tbsp grated Parmesan. Serve in bowls with a shower of Parmesan.