Risi E Bisi (Italian Rice and Peas)

top down view of freshly made pot of creamy risi e bisi (rice and peas).

Risi e Bisi (rice and peas) is a classic, comfort food style Italian recipe ready in about 30 minutes!


Units Scale
  • 810 cups low-sodium vegetable broth OR water (or a combo)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or 1/4 cup water
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 medium leeks, thinly sliced or 1 medium onion or 2 shallots, diced
  • 2 cups (1 lb.) Arborio rice (Carnaroli or Vialone Nano works too)
  • 4 cups (or 2 10oz. packages) peas, fresh or frozen
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped and loosely packed
  • mineral salt + pepper, to taste
  • 1/41/3 cup nutritional yeast, or to taste (optional)
  • almond parmesan, for topping (not shown)


Warm broth: In a medium saucepan, place the broth/water and bay leaves, bring to a gentle simmer and keep broth warm.

Saute: In a large stock pot or dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add leeks and cook until just softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and rice, toss until rice is nicely coated, about 3 minutes.

Slowly add liquids: Add in warm broth, one 1 cup at a time, the stock should be bubbly. Stir often allowing the broth to be just absorbed. Add in another 1 cup of broth, repeat until 6 cups have been used. Add in peas, and remaining stock and continue cooking, stirring frequently, for another 15 minutes or so, or until the rice is al dente, tender but chewy. The whole process should be about 25 – 30 minutes.

Add Parsley: Once done, the rice and peas should be a little soupy. Remove from heat, stir in the optional nutritional yeast and parsley. Season to taste with plenty of salt and pepper.

Serve topped with a nice dusting of almond parmesan and freshly cracked pepper.

Less Hands-On Method:

  • After sauteing the leeks and rice as above.
  • Add at least 7 – 8 cups broth, peas, bay leaves, bring to a boil, cover and cook for 20 – 30 minutes until rice is tender.
  • Remove from heat add in parsley. Let set a few minutes and serve as desired.

Serves 4 – 6

Store: Leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 – 6 days in a covered container. To store longer, freeze in freezer safe containers for up to 2 – 3 months. Let thaw before reheating.


Finished photos in the post reflect using 8 cups of water, add the remaining 2 cups of water for a soupier risi e bisi.

If you were thinking about subbing quinoa for the rice, go ahead, it’s delicious (this is actually my preferred grain, I love everything about it…but then this dish isn’t called Risi E Bisi). Top with Almond Parmesan and you’re good to go. Truly wonderful!

How make with quinoa:

  • In large pot, heat oil and saute leeks, about five minutes. Add 2 cups rinsed quinoa and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Add 7 cups broth and bay leaves, bring to a boil. Add in peas, do not stir, cover and simmer for about 20 – 25 minutes. Test quinoa for tenderness by tasting.
  • Turn off heat, stir in optional nutritional yeast, and let set for about 10 – 15 minutes until broth is mostly absorbed. It will thicken upon standing, add more warm broth as needed for desired soupiness. Remove bay leaves. Toss in parsley, taste for seasoning, and serve.

This method with the quinoa will leave you with wonderful leftovers. Quinoa holds up well and reheats beautifully the next day.