I’m English for the following reasons:
- My passport says I am.
- Nothing will never be funnier than Blackadder (“I am a busy man and I can’t be bothered to punch you at the moment. Here is my fist. Kindly run towards it as fast as you can.”)
- I eat things like cheese and pickle sandwiches, blackcurrant sweeties, chip butties and Twiglets with a zombie-like ferocity.
However, my favorite English food is the magnificent yet humble pea.
Much like Prince, I like ‘em fat. I like ‘em round.
I also like ‘em mushy, when served alongside aloo and paneer, in soup, fried with chili, lime and cumin and even frozen straight out of the bag.
Peas taste like home.
And while it’s not English, risi e bisi is the most comforting of all comfort food. It’s pretty much a hug for your mouth.
Everyone needs a hug.
Risi e bisi is basically risotto with peas. Nothing fancy, nothing special. Just a slow-cooked meal for a cold winter night.
Let’s start off with the most important part of our adventure – the music.
I’ve had a long day at work. It’s dark. It’s cold and I’m tired. All I want is to be cozy and this is accomplished by putting on my pajama pants and my ancient UCF tee and playing Jamie Cullum on Spotify. Particularly, his excellent cover of Radiohead’s High and Dry.
You Will Need:
- 1 quart vegetable stock
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese (don’t hate. It was the only kind I had in the house)
- 1 cup white wine
- Fresh parsley
- A couple of solid glugs olive oil
Bring your stock to a slow simmer in a small pot.
In a larger pot, add a couple of glugs of olive oil and heat.
Add two cloves of roughly-chopped garlic.
Add your rice and toast for about two minutes.
You’ll know it’s ready because of the wonderful nutty smell that makes you wanna shove your face into the pan.
Don’t do that.
Instead, add a ladleful of warm stock, stir and when the rice starts to get dry, add another ladle of stock.
Think of this as an exercise in meditation.
Ladle and stir. Ladle and stir. Wax on, wax off.
Add your wine and stir.
When most of the liquid has been absorbed, add your peas and parmesan.
Stir for about a minute and serve immediately.
Garnish with a little fresh parsley and it’s time to eat!
This is happening in my mouth right now:
Warm and salty and cheesy with little pops of sweetness from the peas, this is comfort food. You can keep your mashed potatoes and mac and cheese. All this girl needs is a little risi e bisi, a blanket and an episode of Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip and it’s a good night.
I hope you make it and if you do, please let me know what you think.
(Also! Leftovers! Leave them in the fridge overnight and the next day, form them into little patties and pan fry to make faux arancini. So good, dudes. So good)