The picturesque Venice presents: Risi e Bisi recipe

An extraordinary marriage of beautiful landscape, culture and food.

Venice is always worth a... stay! Let’s discover why!

Worldwide known for its Film Festival, the ancient Serenissima is much more than this. This “floating” city strikes millions of tourists every year for its extraordinary culture, architecture, art and food.

An incredible variety of things to see 

Saint Mark basilica and its square surrounded by porticos, where you can buy typical handmade objects or have a coffee at Café Florian, one of the city institutions. Next to Saint Mark basilica, you can admire the Palazzo Ducale, a great representation of the magnificence of Venetian art. 

Take long walks on the romantic Rialto bridge, where you can enjoy the most ancient fish market in Europe, and get lost in the labyrinth of “calle”, Venetian very small streets! And if you want to dive into the past, like in the 17th-18th century, experience all the elegance and majesty of Venetian Carnival!


Venice sunrise

Tramonto - dal ponte dell'Accademia

Venetian culinary tradition

Being a crossroads between its hinterland and Eastern lands, Venetian culinary tradition combines ingredients coming from different places. Chicken, turkey, goose and duck, then fresh vegetables like radicchio, potato, tomato, artichoke, peppers, peas and beans. 

Venice imported coffee from Turkey and a great variety of spices that are used in many dishes, like ginger to make ginger chicken, cardamom, cinnamon and nutmeg. Corn coming from America found its use in Venetian cuisine in the famous polenta, often accompanied by the baccalà mantecato, salted and dried codfish reduced to a creamy mush. 

There are a lot of fish dishes, since fish is the most available ingredient – for obvious reasons! – like sarde in saor, sweet and sour sardines literally buried in a considerable quantity of onion, then squids, whose ink is used to season spaghetti, the seafood used caparossoli in cassopipa, basically cooked clams and mussels often used to season spaghetti or bigoli, a typical Venetian type of pasta similar to spaghetti but thicker and handmade….so yummi!! 

If you are in a rush and hungry, then you can have one of the most famous street food in Venice: the tramezzino. It’s a kind of sandwich made of two slices of soft bread without crust containing any sort of filling: asparagus and eggs, mozzarella, tomatoes and olives, prawns and lettuce, tuna, ham and, what can’t really miss is mayonnaise. 

To finish, wash it all down with a good Spritz, a very old low-alcohol cocktail made of Aperol, white wine, soda water and orange. 

Risi e Bisi: a Venetian typical dish

Neither a creamy risotto nor a brothy soup, it’s a dish made of rice and fresh peas that was eaten by the Venetian Doge on Saint Mark’s day. Let’s see how to make it.

Ingredients for Risi e Bisi recipe:

  • 350 gr white rice;
  • 1 kg fresh peas (which means with their pods);
  • 50 gr bacon;
  • 60 gr butter;
  • 1 onion, minced;
  • 30 gr parsley, minced;
  • 40 gr Grana Padano cheese, grated;
  • salt and pepper to taste.

Prepare a vegetable broth first. Let peas pods cook in it for about one hour. Once they are cooked, blitz them till a bit creamy (more brothy than creamy actually) and put aside. In a pan, drop 2 spoons of extra-virgin olive oil and let onion and bacon sizzle. 

Add peas and the peas pods cream, salt and pepper and let it boil. Add rice and let it simmer, often stirring. When rice is cooked, turn off the stove, add butter and stir till it is all melt. A sprinkle of Grana Padano cheese and your dish is ready!

Risi e bisi / Risotto with peas

Sources - 20 things you have to do in Venice - La cucina veneziana - Cucina e cultura a Venezia attraverso i secoli - Ricetta Risi e Bisi - Risi e Bisi
All pictures released under Creative Commons license.

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