Italian Rice and Peas

Italian Rice and Peas

Serves 4


  • 700 g/1 ½ lb./5 cups fresh or thawed peas
  • 25 g/1 oz./2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 3 rashers/slices pancetta or unsmoked back/Canadian-style
  • chopped
  • 1 small onion. peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1,25 liters/2 ¼ pints/5 ¼ cups vegetable stock
  • pinch caster/superfine sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice; 1 bay leaf
  • 200 g/7 oz./1 cup Arborio/risotto rice
  • 3 tbsp. freshly chopped parsley
  • 50 g/2 oz./ ½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

To garnish:

  • fresh parsley sprig
  • julienne strips of orange zest


Shell the peas. if using fresh ones. Melt the butter and olive oil together in a large, heavy-based saucepan. Add the chopped pancetta or bacon. the chopped onion and the garlic and fry gently for about 10 minutes until the onion is softened and is just beginning to color. Pour in the vegetable stock. then add the caster/superfine sugar. lemon juice and bay leaf. Add the fresh peas. if using.

Bring the mixture to a fast boil. Add the rice. stir and simmer. uncovered. for about 20 minutes until the rice is tender. Occasionally stir the mixture gently while it cooks. If using frozen peas. stir them into the rice about 2 minutes before the end of the cooking time.

When the rice is cooked. remove the bay leaf and discard. Stir in 2 ½ tablespoons of the chopped parsley and the grated Parmesan cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer the rice to a large serving dish. Garnish with the remaining chopped parsley. a fresh parsley sprig and julienne strips of orange zest. Serve immediately while piping hot.

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