Italian-style rice soup with fresh peas recipe

Neil Perry
This soup makes for a simple spring dinner.
This soup makes for a simple spring dinner. Photo: William Meppem

To make the rice soup more substantial, buy half a roast chicken, take the meat off the bone, cut it into chunks and fold through the soup.


1 tbsp unsalted butter

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 large clove garlic, finely chopped

1/2 brown onion, finely sliced

1/2 small leek, finely sliced

1 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 tsp sea salt

60g pancetta, chopped

1/3 cup arborio rice

1 1/2 tbsp good-quality white wine

1 litre fresh chicken stock, approximately

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

400g fresh peas in their pod

80g baby spinach leaves

1/2 cup parmesan, grated

extra virgin olive oil, to serve


Heat butter and oil over a low heat in a deep saucepan. When butter starts to foam add the garlic, onion, leek, parsley and salt, and sauté until soft. Increase heat to medium.

Add pancetta and rice and cook until pancetta colours and rice begins to toast. Deglaze with wine and reduce for a minute or so. Add a third of the stock, bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes, stirring and adding stock as needed, until rice is al dente. Add remaining stock, season and bring to the boil.

Pod the peas (you should have about a cup), add to the soup and cook until tender, about 2 minutes. Before serving, add the baby spinach and stir through until just wilted.

Ladle into four bowls. Serve with parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil on top.