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Risi E Bisi (Rice and Peas) - Italian
Posted by Lori Ross - Viewed 14627 times

By Lori Ross


I love risotto and often make it with brown rice in the microwave when on the boat.  Microwave risotto turns out a bit less creamy than stove-top but it is wonderfully cooked with only one stir during the cooking process. This is appealing on the boat as it dirties fewer dishes and allows me to wander away from the galley to be with my guests. Serves 4 to 6.


2 tsp oil

1 medium onion, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 ¼ cup brown rice

2 cups chicken broth

½ cup white wine

1 bay leaf

1 cup green peas (fresh are best, but frozen are good too)

2 tbsp fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried

¼ grated Parmesan cheese


In a large casserole, combine oil, onion, garlic.  Cover and microwave on high for 3-4 minutes until onion is soft. Stir in rice, stock, wine, bay leaf. (If using Ready Rice, microwave for 1 minute then proceed from “Stir in peas”). Cover and microwave on high about 4 minutes. Stir, then continue to microwave on medium power until stock is absorbed and rice is tender (about 10 minutes). Stir in peas and microwave for 3 minutes more.  Add basil, cheese then cover and let it sit for 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper as desired and serve warm. 


Stove top risotto: For traditional stove-top risotto, simply sauté onion in oil until tender.  Add rice and sauté for a couple minutes, and then add wine and bay leaf, stirring until liquid thickens.  Add stock, one cup at a time and stir continuously until stock evaporates and add another cup.  When you run out of stock, rice should be tender (if not, just add another cup of water and stir until tender).  Add peas and sauté a few minutes more, then take off heat, add basil and cheese, salt and pepper and let it sit covered 5 minutes before serving.



  • Chickpea Risotto:  Replace peas with chickpeas and add 2-3 tbsp lemon.
  • Risotto coi Fagioli: Replace white wine with red wine; replace chicken stock with beef stock and replace peas with cooked cranberry or black beans.
  • Green Risotto: Replace peas with fresh fava beans, fresh lima beans or fresh green beans (or frozen versions of these beans); replace basil with ¼ cup store-bought pesto once the risotto is cooked.

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