Risotto with Peas & Bacon (Risi e Bisi)

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Risotto with peas & bacon (Risi e Bisi)

I have to be honest, one of the main reasons I like to make Risotto with Peas & Bacon is so that I can tell everyone eating it that it’s actually called “Risi e Bisi” (the Italian name). Doesn’t that sound too adorable for words. Risi e Bisi.. I just love saying it.

Risotto with peas & bacon (Risi e Bisi)

But that’s not the only reason I love making it. I have quite a fascination with how well peas and any form of pork (especially smoked) works together. And adding that combination to creamy risotto, well that’s just genius! I’ve been told to make less risotto as my family is all risotto’d out. (wait, what? How can ANYONE be Risotto’d out?) But I do try to sneak it in every now and then and to my surprise, everyone tucked in with great gusto and the kids asked for seconds (to be fair, they are going through a bit of a ‘pea phase’ right now).

Risotto with peas & bacon (Risi e Bisi)

Classically, this dish is made using Pancetta but I couldn’t find any when I went to the shops to gather the ingredients for the risotto so I decided to use really good quality smoked streaky bacon instead. I think using chorizo would also be seriously delicious.

Risotto with peas & bacon (Risi e Bisi)

Serve the risotto with plenty of freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino and a few bottles of red wine to fight off the Winter cold!

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Serves 6-8, depending on serving size

1kg Arborio/Carnaroli Rice
1 onion, finely chopped (You could substitute with 2 leeks, finely sliced)
250g smoked streaky bacon, sliced
3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
200ml white wine
2-3l  chicken/vegetable stock
2-3 cups frozen petit pois (baby peas)
2tbsn cream
1 cup Pecorino cheese, grated
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt & pepper to taste

  • In a large pot/pan, heat some oil and fry the onions and garlic until the onions are translucent and the bacon starts to brown.  Add the garlic and fry for another minute or two.
  • Add the rice and stir, coating the rice with the oil. Add the wine and allow to reduce.
  • Now, add the stock ladle by ladle. Stirring in between and allowing the rice to absorb the stock. The rice shouldn’t be completely dry before you add more, it should always be moist. Take care not to stir too much as you don’t want it to go stodgy.
  • When all the stock as been absorbed into the rice, add the peas and cream and allow to cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Add the cheese, lemon juice and adjust the seasoning.
  • Serve immediately.


Alida Ryder
Alida Ryder
Being a general food freak has proven to be quite helpful in this career I've found myself in. Author of two cookbooks, photographer, food stylist. Mom to twins. Ex make-up and hair artist obsessed with beautiful clothes and spaces. I love a good G&T and I've been known to spend too much money on shoes.
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