Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Rewind: Risi e Bisi (Rice & Peas)

One of my very favorite meals ever is Risi e Bisi, Italian for Rice & Peas, a side dish with rice, peas, ham and parmesan in it...yum! I first posted this recipe 6 years ago, but it's one of our favorites that just doesn't get the recognition it deserves so I'm featuring this beauty again today. :) My mom made it when I was a kid and now my kids love it too so it's a regular at our dining table. It's technically a side dish but we serve it as a main dish. After all, it has protein, carbs, vegetables...everything I need to meet my criteria for a one dish meal! It's really easy (isn't everything I make easy??) to throw together and doesn't take long at all, less than an hour to cook.  I make ours in the rice cooker, but it can be made on the stovetop as well. I actually had to prepare this batch on the stovetop since my rice cooker decided it didn't feel like reaching the boiling stage and kept shutting off. Fickle thing. It's a new fancy digital one and it doesn't hold a candle to our old basic one from the Asian market. Unfortunately the one from the Asian market took a bath in the sink thanks to a certain two (now four) year old and we thought we'd be improving by getting the fancy one. Nope! Oh well, it works. Just not as well. But it gets the job done, right? Right. Enough complaining, on to the EXCITING part, the recipe! I love recipes. I may have an addiction...

Makes 4 Servings

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup minced onion
1 cup long-grain white rice
2 cups chicken broth
tablespoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 cup diced ham
tablespoons butter
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese


Rice cooker: Plug in rice cooker and press "Cook" button. Put oil and onion in rice cooker pan and saute 4 minutes. Add rice, chicken broth, parsley, salt and pepper. Stir and cover. Cook until machine function switches to "warm." Add peas and ham and stir. Close lid and let rest for 10 minutes. Open lid and stir in butter and parmesan. Serve immediately. 

Stovetop: If you want to cook on the stovetop, use a deep saucepan and sauté the onion in the oil as directed, over medium heat. Add the 5 ingredients listed next, raise the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Cook until the rice has thickened and soaked up all the liquid and is almost done at al dente. Turn the heat off but leave the pan on the burner. Stir in the peas and ham, close the lid and let sit for 10 minutes. Stir in butter and parmesan and serve.

My daughter Annabelle loves this dish, she cheers when I tell her I'm making it for dinner and she requests it for her birthday dinner almost every year. This year she actually requested daddy's grilled cheeseburgers, my deviled eggs and chips and dip, an equally delicious meal if I do say so. I'm partial to my husband's grilled burgers. He works magic on that grill. So what are you doing with your Wednesday? Anyone going to see fireworks tonight? Me, I sit here with The Notorious B.I.G. blasting on my Pandora summer jams station, it's 11:30 am and my kids are just now starting their routine of running around the house and bickering at each other (late start, it's summer, they sleep in...I'm blessed. I know.) and I'm contemplating what daily craft to do today. Do I feel like baking or making some paints for the kids? Maybe not paints, those have to dry overnight. Maybe we'll make magnets today. Also on my to-do list (and has been for months awhile if I'm being honest...) is to reorganize my office desk in the middle of the family study which is right off of our great room. I don't have anywhere private to move it where I can write in peace (peace? what is that??) so the least I could do is make it more aesthetically pleasing and as zen-like in organization as possible. Who knows, maybe you'll be seeing a before and after tomorrow of my workspace...miracles could happen! Have a great Wednesday whatever you're up to today!

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