This is a wonderful vegetarian recipe. It can also be made with chicken stock instead of vegetable stock.
Rice and Peas Italian Style
- 5 cups vegetable stock
- 4 Tbs olive oil
- 1/2 cup onion, chopped
- 2 cups green peas (you may use frozen)
- 1 1/2 cups white rice
- 2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- Bring the vegetable stock to a simmer in a medium-large pot, then lower the heat so that the stock continues to barely simmer.
- In a skillet heat the 4 Tbs of olive oil over medium heat.
- Add the onion and cook until it is transparent, but not browned.
- Add the peas and rice to the onions. Cook over medium heat for two minutes.
- Add two cups of vegetable stock and cook until the liquid is all but absorbed (don't let the rice get dry).
- Add another cup of stock and cook, stirring, until the stock is almost absorbed.
- Repeat with additional stock, only adding 1 cup at a time, until the rice is tender.
- Stir in the 2 Tbs of olive oil, cheese, and serve.
Note: You can easily adapt this recipe for meat eaters. Add 1 cup diced ham or medium, cooked shrimp to the skillet when you add the peas and rice.
The Romans were cultivating Pisum about 500 to 400 BCE. Apicius, the cookbook author of ancient Rome, had nine recipes for peas. Some of the recipes are cooked with vegetables and herbs. Other recipes combine peas with meats and poultry and herbs. The mere fact that he offers nine unique preparations for peas exhibits the extent of their importance during that period.
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Traditional Italian Arborio Rice
For the best risotto use Arborio rice. It gives a creamier risotto than regular white rice. It's not always easy to find at supermarkets. I order Rice Select and have it delivered to my home.