Aristotelian Rice and Peas, or the Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts

By • January 15, 2014 • 12 Comments

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Author Notes: Heavily adapted from Marcella Hazen's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. Hazen's original uses fresh peas and pods (the latter to infuse the broth). You should make it! In April. Nicholas Day

Serves 4

  • 14-ounce bag frozen peas (a full pound is fine, too)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons onion, chopped
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan, freshly grated
  1. In a soup pot or dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until it becomes lightly golden. In a separate pot, heat the stock until it reaches a simmer.
  2. Once the onion is ready, add 3 cups of the simmering stock, the rice, the bag of frozen peas, and a good pinch of salt. Cover the pot and and cook at a low boil for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the rice is just tender. If the soup is too thick, thin it slightly with the remaining stock; it should be thick but not porridge. When the rice is ready, add the grated Parmesan and taste for salt. Serve.
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3 months ago twinjadojo

Oh my, oh my, oh my, yes! I peeked at Ms. Hazan's original recipe, and ended up making a hybrid version using 2 pounds of freshly picked shelling peas from my garden, and 3.5 cups of homemade stock. (I skipped the 10 minute boiling of the peas before adding the rice, and omitted the parsley, both called for in the original recipe.) My rice was nicely cooked in 15 minutes, and it set up nicely while it cooled for the Twinjas. I crisped up some standard bacon to sprinkle on top. Pure swoon! The flavors are all so round, gentle and comforting. It instantly brought me back to preschool where a version of this dish with roast chicken mixed in was one of my favorite lunches. My own kids ate the bacon off the top, one spoonful of the risi e bisi each, exclaimed YUMMY! I like it! and left the remainder of their bowls. Classic. Thank you x1M!

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6 months ago rob weaver

using fresh peas a waste?

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8 months ago jemimapuddleduck.t

Hello what would you serve this with or is intended to be served on its own?

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8 months ago kaysenyah

I substituted veggie stock to make this meatless, and it was divine. Now in regular winter dinner rotation!

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9 months ago mpalmer

this ridiculously easy and yummy--thanks for sharing!

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9 months ago Kristin Greene

Just made this and it is delicious! Creamy and flavorful and perfect for a family meal. Incredibly quick and easy to make too. Thanks for the recipe!

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9 months ago Anne B

My picky two year old thought this was the best ever and asked for third helpings. I will add the peas last for my own taste and hope that it doesn't ruin the magic of a simple meal with vegetables that goes down without complaint from my little one.

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9 months ago Juliebell

I wanted to love this recipe but in spite of using top grade ingredients found it to have little flavor with the additions of another pat of butter, salt, pepper and cheese. The recipe does cook accurately, likely just personal taste.

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9 months ago baker2

We love this. Mine is a bit different. After the onion is cooked and the rice is coated I add white wine and some saffron. Iook this in a pressure cooker so it is more like a risotto. Once the heat is high enough this cooks in minutes. I like the rice 'toothy" like they serve in Italy. The peas are added after the risotto is cooked. Frozen peas are yummy and added after defrosted, impart a sweetness we love. Lots of regiano parmegiano and we enjoy a soul satisfying meal. Before you dismiss the pressure cooker, try it. I come from a Sicilian family with wonderful cooks but am always looking for ways to improve or lessen the time cooking.

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7 months ago rob weaver

rice, pressure cooker , oh mon dieu

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9 months ago Rémy Robert

As a philosophy major who is ever-concerned that my education is doing nothing for me, I am thrilled by the title of this recipe.

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9 months ago susan g

How is that Aristotelian? Sounds more like Euclid to me.