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Risi e bisi (Italian rice and peas)

Risi e bisi (Italian rice and peas)

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This quick and easy recipe for Italian risi e bisi, also known as rice and peas, is the OG of one pot meals.


Rice and peas

Italian rice and peas

Growing up, my mother used to make this one pot rice and peas with chopped meat. It was definitely one of those dishes that I really looked forward to eating.  I loved to smother mine with grated Parmesan while it was still piping hot so it would get all ooey gooey from the cheese.

This one pot wonder has it all grains, protein, greens and my favorite ingredient, grated cheese.

It was (and still is) one of those dishes that tastes even better then next day.


I’m not sure that this is a typical risi e bisi (rice and peas) that is sometimes made with saffron and/or prosciutto.  But my guess is, it was my mother’s twist on the classic Italian dish.  

With all this said, it was definitely one my favorite dishes to eat as a kid and like most of the recipes I share, it just brings me back to my favorite place as a kid, at home in the kitchen with my Mama

Of course there isn’t a recipe of hers written down, so as usual I did my best to recreate the flavors and ingredients to build a recipe from my memory and taste.

Here goes my favorite “risi e bisi”, I think it’s as close to my mother’s as it’s going to get .  Also, feel free to use this recipe as a guide or reference and make this dish your own.

Happy Cooking and enjoy!

Rice and Peas

Risi e bisi

Italian rice and peas with chopped meat
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian


  • 1/2 large white onion chopped
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1 cup of extra lean ground round or sirloin
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 1 bouillon
  • 2 handfuls of sweet frozen peas aprox. 1/2 a cup
  • 3 tblsp olive oil
  • 2 Tblsp. butter divided
  • Fresh herbs for garnish
  • Grated Cheese parmesan or romano
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste


  • In a pan saute the meat until cooked and then set aside in a covered dish.  In the same skillet saute onion in olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter, when onions turn slightly golden brown add the rice and continue to saute.  Add the water and bouillon and chopped meat back to the pan and bring to a boil over medium heat stirring frequently.  Reduce the flame to low and cover the skillet with a lid and cook for an additional 20-25 minutes or until rice is cooked. Add the frozen peas during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Before serving garnish with fresh parsley or basil and sprinkle with a good amount of grated cheese.
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