Rice salad (Insalata di Riso), “to go” or “to stay”, delicious anyway!

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I would say, without question, that Rice Salad (“Insalata di Riso”) is the SUMMER ITALIAN CLASSIC – as much as “Italian meatballs” are a WINTER ITALIAN CLASSIC! Every Italian, from Sicily to the North of Italy, knows what an Insalata di Riso is, and all cook it in the same way (with maybe a few exceptions due to the local products of the various Regions). It is a fresh dish, super easy to prepare, and able to be prepared ahead of time. A rice salad would never be missing from any Italian summer party or picnic.

As any other rice salad, this dish is composed by a base of boiled white rice, enriched with meat (frankfurters and ham), fish (tuna), veggies (pickled, fresh, or frozen), eggs, and cheese. Very quick to prepare, perfect for picnics or lunch boxes (as is the tuna and lemon pasta salad) and particularly suitable for parties (as much as “Tartine“) not only because it can be served cool, but especially because it looks colorful and tempting.

As for all the ingredients that this salad needs, I usually make a big bowl of it, so we can consume it during all the week, and my husband loves it because is the perfect alternative to a sandwich to be eaten for lunch at the office.

Even though I usually try to be very precise with the quantities, I would suggest you make this salad by adjusting the ingredients according to your individual tastes (I mean, if you don’t like tuna, you can skip it, and add more ham instead, or viceversa). I will try to give you an idea of how I make it, using pictures, and approximate quantities.

INGREDIENTS for a big bowl

3 cups white rice cooked “al dente”

6-8 frankfurters

2 big cans tuna in oil

1 small pack ham cubes

1 small pack frozen peas, boiled

1 jar Italian mix giardiniera

1 handful cappers

1 cup green olives chopped

half jar cocktail onions cut in two

a handful of sweet roasted peppers

a handful of Asiago cheese cut in cubes

a couple of sliced eggs

mayonnaise to decorate

 

DIRECTIONS

Cook the rice as it was pasta “al dente” (don’t forget to salt the water!), drain it, and rinse it under cool water. Be careful not to overcook the rice because if you let it cook too long, once drained all the grains will stick together, ruining both the taste and appearance of the salad.

I took a pictures of all the ingredients together, but you don’t need to dirty so many dishes, as I did! 😉

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Just add all the ingredients to the rice, and mix them together!

Put the salad in the refrigerator and enjoy it when cooled.

Add to your portion some Asiago cheese cubes, few slices of boiled egg, and – if you like some extra taste – a few lines of mayonnaise.

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LEARNT IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!

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TIPS: – If you decide to make this rice salad for a cook out (which sounds like an awesome idea), remember not to mix the mayonnaise with the salad, as to avoid it spoiling too quickly in the heat.

– If you make this salad for a party, use the eggs and mayonnaise not only as ingredients but as decorations: your dish will look gorgeously alluring!

– According to my personal experience, kids don’t appreciate this plate. My daughters like most of the ingredients of this salad separated, but once mixed all together, they just don’t want to take even a bite!

I really hope you like this recipe, and please, if you do,

share it, like it, leave a comment, subscribe, and help support my blog!

Much thanks,

Silvia

 

 

 

 

White Wine risotto (Risotto al vino bianco): simple and sophisticated!

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By now you probably already know that “Risotto” is one of my favorite dishes and, unusual for an Italian, that I prefer it to pasta. However, risotto requires a more complex cooking process to prepare, so many people are discouraged by this and simply give up on the idea of trying to cook it.

Well, this white wine risotto is extremely simple and quick to prepare (about 25 minutes)- perfect for beginners. It is light and tasty, and equally suited for a family meal or an important dinner.

Follow the ten golden rules for the perfect risotto and the recipe below and you will amazed by the excellent results you’ll get.

INGREDIENTS for 4 servings

2 cups Arborio or Carnaroli or Vialone Nano rice – 400 gr. riso Carnaroli o Arborio o Vialone Nano

1 white onion, medium sized, or 2 small – 1 cipolla media o due piccole

2 Tbs olive oil – 2 cucchiai d’olio d’oliva

5 tbs. Parmesan cheese – 30 gr. circa parmigiano

16 oz or 2 cups good quality white wine – 500 ml di vino bianco di buona qualita’

about 64 oz hot broth (better if homemade) – 1 lt e 1/2 di brodo bollente

1 Tbs butter or mascarpone cheese for the “mantecatura” -un cucchiaio di burro o mascarpone per la mantecatura

salt to taste – sale quanto basta

pepper to taste – pepe quanto basta

DIRECTIONS

Prepare the broth by bringing it to a boil and then keeping it at low heat. (You will add the broth – just a little a time- to the rice in later steps).

Chop the onion and brown it in olive oil at medium heat in a pan big enough to cook the risotto.

Once the onion becomes golden, raise the heat, add the rice, stir the mix, and allow the rice to toast for a few minutes. (With the word “toast” I mean cook the rice and the onion together without any kind of liquid for few minutes- without burning it!)

Next, you will begin the process of gradually cooking the liquids into the rice. It is very important to add the liquids, just a little at a time, and wait until it is thoroughly absorbed before adding more.

So turn the heat back down to medium, add a bit of the white wine, and set your kitchen timer for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally as the wine cooks in. Continue to add wine a little at a time until it is all absorbed.

Once all the white wine is incorporated, start adding the hot broth, a ladle at a time. Again, remember to wait until the liquid is thoroughly absorbed each time before adding more, and stir occasionally. Add salt, as desired.

When there are just three minutes left on the timer, switch off the heat, add another ladle of broth, the butter (or mascarpone cheese), and the parmesan to the risotto. Stir ingredients together and then cover the pot with a lid until the end of the 20 minutes, for the MANTECATURA phase. This process will make your risotto creamy and dense, in other words “all’onda”.

At the end of the twenty minutes, serve your risotto still warm, and suggest your guests sprinkle some black pepper on the top of it, if they like.

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LEARNT IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!

I really hope you like this recipe, and please, if you do, share it, like it, leave a comment, and help support my blog!

Much thanks,

Silvia