Monday, March 3, 2008

Risi e Bisi

It's been exactly two weeks now since I last was able to run. ::sigh:: I feel better, at least until exert myself and then I start coughing like crazy. Hopefully tonight I'll be able to do some sort of workout. I have a couple hours while the kids are at wrestling practice that I can use the indoor track at the high school. Hopefully I can get a couple of miles in with several walking breaks. May is going to be here before you know it and 13.1 miles is a long way!

Last night for dinner everyone got to pick a favorite thing for me to make. Lily picked corn on the cob; Jacob chose chicken; and Katie couldn't decide between rice and peas. I ended up making simple chicken breasts, sauteed in a bit of olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper since dh wasn't home. I told Katie she could have both and pulled out a recipe for Risi e Bisi. It turned out not to be the recipe I'd intended. We'd had a Rachael Ray version in the past and we really liked it. This time I tried Mario Batali's recipe for Risi e Bisi with Prosciuitto, though I did leave out the Proscuitto since I was making this for my semi-veggie daughter and my carnivorous dh wasn't home yet. Both recipes are similar (though Ray doesn't include proscuitto) but Batli's version seemed somehow fussier. In the midst of preparing it, I started winging it and turned it into Ray's Italian style rice and peas, instead. It was fairly quick and not difficult. The dish does need some attention. You have to continuously add broth to the rice as it cooks down and give it a stir now and then but I was able to finish the chicken and get the table set with no problems in well under 30 minutes.

Risi e Bisi -- Italian style rice and peas

1 quart chicken stock
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil -- 2 turns of the pan
2 cloves garlic -- chopped
1 rounded cup Arborio rice
Salt and pepper
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Romano cheese (a couple of handfuls)

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

Heat a medium sized skillet over medium heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil 2 turns of the pan, and garlic. Saute garlic 1 minute, then add Arborio. Toast the Arborio 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 your taste. Serve immediately.

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