Sunday, 16 August 2015

Are You Red-dy for This?

Risi-Bisi Rosso con Piselli, Carciofini & Menta
Red Rice Risi-Bisi with Peas, Artichokes & Mint

We're all familiar with "risi-bisi", that classic, Italian dish of rice and peas, right? Sure we are! And come to think of it, it is a meal that is made the world over... Simple, pleasant, economical, healthy and plain good.

But, I wouldn't be me if I just left things at that now, would I? Of course, in the version that I prepared this evening, I had some other goodies to make it more special... And indeed, even used another kind of rice! I am such a risk-taker!


One of my favorite ingredients, that I love to use in many, many dishes (as you may have noticed), is mint... Which is of course a classic accompaniment to peas and also especially so when combined with artichoke!

I combined these ingredients with red, sometimes also known as "cargo" rice, to make for a hearty, nutty and much richer version than the classic, Roman, white rice dish. And you might just like it too!


Here are the simple ingredients for my scrumptious supper! 3 baby artichokes, 1 shallot, 1 teacupful of red cargo rice, 2 handfuls of fresh peas, a good handful of fresh mint, about 1/2 liter of chicken (or vegetable if you prefer) broth, salt, pepper and some Grana cheese for grating. Easy-peasy indeed!


This is not a risotto, nothing like it, but it's delicious all the same! Red cargo rice has a firm, chewy consistent, not a soft and creamy one like arborio... Two different kinds of rice, two different dishes and two different cooking methods... Read on to find out how easy this was to make!


Start off by trimming the artichokes, removing any tough outer leaves and the "choke" from the center, then cut into quarters and fry together with the shallot in olive oil until the shallot begins to turn translucent.


Next, add the rice and stir it in well, making sure that each grain gets nice and glossy from the oil as you go.

Deglaze with the eh chicken broth and enough boiling water, to make sure the rice and artichokes are covered by at least an inch of liquid.

Bring to the boil, reduce to a very low simmer and allow to bubble away with the lid on for a good 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, add the peas and half of the finely chopped mint, stir it in well and then return to the stove top for a further 10-15 minutes, until the peas are tender and the rice has absorbed all of the liquids... And all of the flavors... Mmmm!


Serve with more mint leaves, grind with fresh pepper, grate with Grana cheese and drizzle lightly with a little olive oil... And dig-in and enjoy!!!


All of that richness, all of that goodness... And no messing around! Perfect!


And yes, those little quarter-hearts of artichoke are about as tender and delicious as can be! Try them yourselves and see!

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