Panissa del Vercellese from the AUTENTICO Cookbook
Soupy Rice from Vercelli
Contessa Rosetta Clara makes this for me when I visit her at the Principato di Lucedio in Piemonte, although she's the first to admit that she only makes it when I'm in town! It's too bad; the recipe—written originally as a hearty breakfast for farmers to sustain them through a long day—combines sausages, rice, and beans and is one of my favorites (especially made with the contessa's incredible Carnaroli rice)! Many recipes will say you want the spoon to stand up in the rice, but here you want it to be much looser (it will thicken up dramatically as it cools). Carla Farchetti, one of the chefs in the principato's kitchen, offers up this tip to decide how much rice to make: "Count the number of people and make 1/2 cup per person...plus two fistfuls extra."
-Rolando Beramendi in AUTENTICO: Cooking Italian, the Authentic Way
2 tablespoons (30 ml | 27 g) cooking extra-virgin olive oil such as Sapori Divini
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1/2 pound (250 g) ground Italian sausage
2 1/4 cups (500 g) Principato di Lucedio Carnaroli Rice
1 cup (240 ml) dry, dark red wine, preferably Barbera
2 cups (340 g) cooked La Valletta Borlotti Beans, cooking liquid reserved
2/3 cup (90 g) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
q.b. sea salt and crushed Tellicherry black peppercorns
In a large Dutch oven, hear the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is transparent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sausage to the pan and use a wooden spoon to break it apart. Cook until lightly browned all around, about 3 minutes. Add the Principato di Lucedio Carnaroli Rice and wine and stir to combine. Pour in enough of the bean broth and La Valletta Borlotti Beans to cover the rice and sausage mixture and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring frequently and adding bean broth and beans as needed to keep the rice covered, until the rice is al dente, about 15 minutes. Stir in the cheese and season with salt and pepper. Serve warm.
TO DRINK: A Grignolino from Piemonte. This old wine used to be regarded as more important than Barbera, but has suffered from a bad reputation in recent years. The green, bright, tart red is back again and is ideal for cutting through the creaminess of the dish.