One-Pot Wonders

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

January 15, 2014
6 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4
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

What You'll Need
  • 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Taylor Stanton
    Taylor Stanton
  • Anthony Thonus Robinson
    Anthony Thonus Robinson
  • Transcendancing
  • lora789
  • twinjadojo
I'm the author of a book on the science and history of infancy, Baby Meets World. My website is; I tweet over at @nicksday. And if you need any good playdoh recipes, just ask.

20 Reviews

Taylor S. October 7, 2020
This is unreal, too good! Like a risotto but hands off.
jess N. November 12, 2016
i love this recipe. i've made it at least ten times by now---mostly with frozen peas, per recipe, but also with other frozen and leftover odds-and-ends vegetables. if you have a reasonably good sense of the temperature of your stovetop, you don't even really have to attend to this. (it will be better if you do, but will still be good if you don't.)

yeah. it's not fancy, but damn it works. as a vegetarian and a borderline-compulsive maker of vegetable stock---well, obviously i use vegetable stock. the better the stock, the better the result.

i don't know where in the world you can buy 14-ounce bags of frozen peas! but i do think a whole 16-oz. bag is a little much. if i'm just straight-up using one bag of frozen peas, i'll reserve some of the peas for stock. :)

(if you're savory-minded/-tongued) add a little soy sauce (esp. korean soup soy sauce!) and you've got yourself a crazy taste sensation. :P it will make friends with the parmesan.
Eva January 4, 2016
I just made this for tomorrows lunch but with quinoa instad of rice - a little different but good!
Sanora D. November 27, 2015
Saved this one and will prepare tommorow for dinner!
cbforesman April 23, 2015
I used veggie stock and added the peas towards the end. I used frozen and by the time I added them they had defrosted a bit. I just couldn't see boiling the poor peas for 20 minutes! It worked just fine and for my money it's just as good and waaay simpler than all that stirring and simmering you have to do for risotto. I'm going to try it next with asparagus. Love this recipe.
Anthony T. February 14, 2015
So Delicious. Used veg stock, added courgettes and chives Fablisiba!
Transcendancing February 13, 2015
This was lovely, I added broccoli because I love it and I wanted to revel in the green flavour. Simple and delicious, will definitely make again.
lora789 February 10, 2015
Is it tasty? It is usefull certainly! :-)
How to get better sleep
twinjadojo August 6, 2014
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!
rob W. April 20, 2014
using fresh peas a waste?
jemimapuddleduck.t February 17, 2014
Hello what would you serve this with or is intended to be served on its own?
kaysenyah February 13, 2014
I substituted veggie stock to make this meatless, and it was divine. Now in regular winter dinner rotation!
mpalmer January 30, 2014
this ridiculously easy and yummy--thanks for sharing!
Kristin G. January 26, 2014
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!
Anne B. January 22, 2014
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.
Juliebell January 19, 2014
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.

baker2 January 16, 2014
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.
rob W. March 20, 2014
rice, pressure cooker , oh mon dieu
Rémy R. January 16, 2014
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.
susan G. February 8, 2014
How is that Aristotelian? Sounds more like Euclid to me.