The most popular soup in Venice is pasta and fagioli (pasta and beans), a hearty combination that warms body and soul during the long rainy season.
Risi e bisi (rice and peas) is a simple and yet delicious duo enjoyed especially in the early spring. The local pasta of choice is bigoli, long wholewheat strands of pasta most often served with a seafood sauce. Main courses include a wide variety of meats such as beef, pork, poultry and small game birds. Offal is also popular, epitomised in the local speciality, fegato alla Veneziana.
Desserts are prized in equal measure. Tiramis, one of Italy’s more popular sweets, was created here.
The combination of spongy savoiardi, coffee, chocolate and mascarpone is no doubt a winning one. It’s also a dish that lends itself to interpretation. Finally, look out for the wide range of small pastries. There are so many on offer you will be hard pushed to find a favourite, but it’s worth trying.
Rice and peas –Risi e Bisi
Serves 4 – Preparation 5 mins – Cooking 15 mins
- 300g risotto rice
- 1 small onion
- 1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
- 200g peas
- A few tbsp olive oil
- Large knob of unsalted butter
- 4 heaped tbsp freshly grated Parmesan
- Finely chop the onion and gently fry in a few tablespoons of olive oil until softened. Next add the rice and stir for a few minutes to coat each grain. Add a ladleful of stock and stir until the stock is absorbed.
- Continue adding the stock one ladle at a time and stirring until the rice is cooked, which should take about 12-15 minutes depending on the variety of rice used. Add the peas, a generous knob of butter and the Parmesan cheese.
- Stir everything together well and serve. Serve with a sprinkling of freshly chopped parsley if desired and extra grated Parmesan cheese.
Ricotta cream dessert – Crema di ricotta
Serves 6 – Preparation 15 mins
- 500g fresh ricotta
- 3 eggs yolks
- 3 heaped tbsp icing sugar
- 10-12 savoiardi biscuits
- 250ml Vin Santo
- A few tbsp chopped hazelnuts
- Chocolate sauce
- Place the ricotta into a large bowl and whisk with an electric beater for 1 minute. Add the egg yolks one at a time mixing well between each addition.
- Next add the icing sugar and whisk for 3-4 minutes to a smooth cream. Dip the savoiardi biscuits briefly into the Vin Santo and arrange half on a serving plate.
- Spoon over half of the ricotta mixture layer, then repeat with the remaining biscuits and spoon over the ricotta cream. Just before serving drizzle over chocolate sauce and sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts.