Risi e Bisi from Chef Michael Lombardi

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Chef Michael Lombardi, the talent behind the menu at SRV in the South End and the forthcoming Si, Cara in Cambridge, offers up this creamy, classic risotto to enjoy during that spring-to-summer transition (for that time of year when the days are warm but the nights are cool). The recipe title translates to “rice and peas,” which is pretty much what you can expect — along with diced pancetta and parmigiano reggiano — in this lovely and tasty little vehicle for the flavors of spring.


Servings: 4-6


  • 10 ounces carnaroli rice
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 6 ounces white wine
  • 2 tablespoons sliced garlic
  • Coarse black pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup pancetta, diced
  • 1/2 cup fresh shucked peas
  • 1/8 cup grated parmigiano reggiano
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 each lemon juice and zest
  • 2 tablespoons mint leaves
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • Finishing olive oil to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • Coarse black pepper to taste


  1. Blanch the peas in salted boiling water until al dente. Shock in ice water until cool and remove from the water.
  2. To make the risotto heat the chicken broth up in a sauce pot and keep warm. In a separate sauce pot add the diced pancetta and begin to render. Add the sliced garlic and cook on low heat until soft and translucent.
  3. Next add the rice and lightly toast.
  4. Season with a touch of salt then add the wine and reduce until dry.
  5. Add a 6 ounces of stock and stir constantly with a rubber spatula to cook evenly and extract starch from the rice. Keep adding hot stock in stages throughout the cooking process making sure to have the rice always covered slightly by stock.
  6. Finish the risotto with the peas, mint, parsley, butter, parm, finishing olive oil, lemon juice and zest and fresh cracked pepper.

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