Risotto with peas

For Chanukah Italians add raisins to this first course dish that’s popular throughout the country


Risotto is a quintessential Italian first course and, as such, it also belongs on the table of Italian Jews, all over the peninsula, but especially in the regions of Piedmont and Lombardy. This recipe makes a basic risotto, but you can customise it to celebrate the holidays: with diced candied citron for Sukkot, raisins for Chanukah, chopped pumpkin for Rosh Hashanah, and peas for Passover — Italian minhag allows both rice and legumes to be eaten over Pesach. All sorts of vegetables can be added at other times of the year, depending on what’s in season. Simply prep the ingredients and add them to the rice while it’s cooking.


  • Pour the olive oil into a large non-stick frying pan set over medium heat, add the onion, and cook for 3 minutes, or until translucent. Add the rice and stir it with a wooden spoon for a couple of minutes, so that the grains are gently toasted in the oil.
  • Pour in the wine and simmer to evaporate it. Add a ladleful of the broth, lower the heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring, until the rice absorbs the broth. Once it does, add another ladleful of broth and cook, stirring, until it is absorbed. (If you want to add any vegetables or other ingredients, stir them into the rice at this point.)
  • Continue cooking and adding broth a ladleful at a time for 20 to 30 minutes, until the rice grains are tender but not mushy. Turn off the heat, stir in the butter and Parmesan cheese, and mix well. Serve straight away.

This recipe can be made parev by omitting the butter and cheese.

Recipe adapted from: Cook­ing alla Giu­dia (Arti­san Books). Copy­right © 2018

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