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Rizi Bizi is a popular side dish in Croatia

This is very popular side dish in Croatia, served with various meats and sauces. It is almost inevitable Sunday side dish with roasted or fried chicken. The recipe is with fresh green peas removed from shucks but it can be done with canned or frozen peas. This recipe is from Cooking High School in Zagreb, 1st year, slightly adopted to avoid too many steps and dishes (they, students, don’t wash their dishes).

rizi bizi

Rizi Bizi is a spring dish that is correctly served with a spoon, not a fork; it is a soup so thick it looks like a risotto. It is made with green peas using the stock from the fresh young pods, flavored with pancetta.

Rizi Bizi is made with green peas flavored with Pancetta

There are many different risotto recipes with different ingredients, but they are all based on rice of an appropriate variety cooked in a standard procedure.

The rice is first cooked briefly in a soffritto of onion and butter or olive oil to coat each grain in a film of fat, called tostatura; white or red wine is added and has to be absorbed by the grains. When it has evaporated, the heat is raised to medium high and very hot stock is gradually added in small amounts while stirring gently, almost constantly: stirring loosens the starch molecules from the outside of the rice grains into the surrounding liquid, creating a smooth creamy-textured liquid. At that point it is taken off the heat for the mantecatura when diced cold butter is vigorously stirred in to make the texture as creamy and smooth as possible. The Rizi Bizi may be removed from the heat a few minutes earlier, and left to cook with its residual heat.

Properly cooked risotto is rich and creamy but still with some resistance or bite: al dente, and with separate grains. The traditional texture is fairly fluid, or all’onda (“wavy, or flowing in waves”). It is served on flat dishes and it should easily spread out but not have excess watery liquid around the perimeter. Rizi Bizi must be eaten at once as it continues to cook in its own heat and can become too dry with the grains too soft.

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