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Riži i Biži (Croatian Rice and Peas)

We have fond memories of our grandfather making spring peas and rice when peas were in season and at their very best. It is fairly easy to recreate this recipe and even  bringing it up a notch by using pancetta and stock. Riži I Biži should have a consistency between soup and risotto, somewhere in the middle. Enjoy

Ingredients

  • few tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium , minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup pound diced pancetta
  • 1 cup Arborio or other risotto rice
  • 4 cups Warm  vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 cup wine
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1-2 tablespoon of butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • (More water if necessary)

 

  • Sauté onion Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized pot over medium-high heat. When it is hot, add the onion and stir to combine. Let these sauté for about -2-3 minutes and the add optional pancetta and sauté till onions are translucent (few more minutes)
  • Add garlic and sautéed for 30 seconds till fragrant
  • Pour in the rice, stir again and sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Add wine and mix and let it evaporate
  • Meanwhile, heat up the stock and 1 cup of water in a small pot. You want this at a simmer while you make the rice.
  • Ladle some of the hot stock into the pot and start stirring. Riži I Biži is cooked like risotto, and is supposed to be pretty soupy, so you need a lot of water and you need to stir it constantly. Let this first ladle of stock cook down before you add the next.
  • Keep adding stock, letting it cook down and stirring until you’re done with the simmering stock. It is likely that you may need at least one more cup of water to finish the dish, because all that stirring in an open pot means you evaporate more liquid than you would when you cook rice the normal way, i.e., covered. If you think you are going to need more water, add more to the simmering stock.
  • When you get to this last cup of stock, add the peas. Keep stirring until the water has almost cooked away. Taste some rice and test for salt and doneness: Add a little salt and some more hot tap water if the rice is still crunchy – you want the rice to be a little al dente, but not so much you’re gnawing on raw grain.
  • Add the parsley, butter and the parmesan and mix well. Your finished rice should be slightly soupy, so it’s ok to add a little more water before serving.

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