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Risi E Bisi Recipe (Rice and Peas!)

A take on the classic Italian dish, rice and peas, adapted for #camplife: tender rice, sweet green peas, pancetta, sage, and a squeeze of lemon!

Risi E Bisi Recipe (Rice and Peas!) - www.iamafoodblog.com

Risi E Bisi Recipe (Rice and Peas!) - www.iamafoodblog.com

Risi E Bisi Recipe (Rice and Peas!) - www.iamafoodblog.com

I’m on a roll with the camp posts! I figure I should post them all before summer is over, since summertime equals camping. But, then again, Mike just suggested going camping sometime in September and seeing how we’re having a very warm late summer, it just might be something that we do.

We made this risi e bisi, or rice and peas, while we were camping at Detroit Lake, in Oregon, for the eclipse. We booked the campsite almost a year in advance, at midnight, after scoping out which campsite was the best one. We managed to snag one right on the lake, with an unobstructed view. It was gorgeous and more than one person complimented on our campsite choice.

Risi E Bisi Recipe (Rice and Peas!) - www.iamafoodblog.com

Risi E Bisi Recipe (Rice and Peas!) - www.iamafoodblog.com

Risi E Bisi Recipe (Rice and Peas!) - www.iamafoodblog.com

It was the perfect setting for this risi e bisi. Technically this is nothing like the classic Italian risi e bisi (which means rice and peas), but it’s literally rice and peas, so we’re going to roll with it. Traditionally risi e bisi is more of a thick rice soup, similar to risotto, but a little more loose. Our risi e bisi was more of a rice pilaf and while it wasn’t anything like any risi e bisi you’ve seen, it was delicious!

Generally, risi e bisi showcases the first fresh peas of the season, but because we were camping, we used a bag of frozen peas. Tender peas, perfectly cooked rice, and nuggets of crispy pancetta made this one camp dish that I’d make again and again.  I added some Bota Box Mini Pinot Grigio into the rice stock which bumped up the authenticity level just so.

Risi E Bisi Recipe (Rice and Peas!) - www.iamafoodblog.com

Risi E Bisi Recipe (Rice and Peas!) - www.iamafoodblog.com

Risi E Bisi Recipe (Rice and Peas!) - www.iamafoodblog.com

It’s funny because I’m not actually very comfortable cooking rice on the stove – I grew up using a rice cooker and that’s essentially the only way I know how to make rice. But, when you’re camping, there are no rice cookers to be had. And sometimes, when you’re at an air bnb and the rice craving hits, all you have is a pot.

So, I learned how to make rice in a pot. Mike was actually the one who taught me because somehow he knows rice magic. The secret is: no peeking. You have to trust the rice. The rice will be alright, don’t ruin it by peeking and letting the steam out. Have faith in your rice cooking abilities and everything will be all rice ;)

Risi E Bisi Recipe (Rice and Peas!) - www.iamafoodblog.com

Risi E Bisi Recipe (Rice and Peas!) - www.iamafoodblog.com

Risi E Bisi Recipe (Rice and Peas!) - www.iamafoodblog.com

Risi E Bisi/Rice and Peas Recipe
serves 2, very generously


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 cup medium grain rice
  •  salt and freshly ground pepper
  • .25 cup Bota Box Pinot Grigio
  • 1.5 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 ounces pancetta, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 12 fresh sage leaves
  • 2 cups peas
  • 1 lemon, to serve

In a heavy bottomed pot, melt the butter on medium high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, but not brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice, frying and coating with butter. Deglaze the pan with the wine and cook down, stirring, until almost dry. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. When at a boil, turn the burn down as low as it can go, cover and cook for 17 minutes, without peeking. When the 17 minutes are up, turn off the heat, leave the lid on and let the rice steam for another 10 minutes.

While the rice is steaming, heat up the oil in another pan. (Alternatively, if you only have one pot/pan, you can do this after the rice is finished cooking, just remove the rice from the pot, place in a large bowl, and cover with foil.) Crisp the pancetta, then add the garlic, sage leaves and peas. Cook for 1 minute or until peas are heated through. Season with salt and pepper then toss with the cooked rice. Finish with a squeeze of lemon and enjoy immediately.

I partnered with Bota Box to create this post. Enjoy!

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4 Comments

  1. Sam says:

    Unbelievable pictures

  2. Chiara says:

    yeah, cool…but no…as a 100% born and raised Veronese woman, this is too fancy. Risi e bisi is supposed to be, literally, just risi (Veronese dialect for ‘rice’) and bisi (Veronese dialect for ‘peas’). Nothing more. Pancetta is a luxurious addition to a very humble dish. And it’s more soupy, as you don’t absorb all the broth.

    1. Allie says:

      Hi! Sometimes taking an authentic dish and giving it a twist can be awesome! She quite literally said “Technically this is nothing like the classic Italian risi e bisi (which means rice and peas), but it’s literally rice and peas, so we’re going to roll with it.” Side note- I recently found your blog & I can’t wait to try this!

      1. Stephanie says:

        thank you so much for the kind words allie! hope you enjoy :)