Insalata di Riso

Insalata di Riso

Insalata di riso is an inexpensive summer comfort food that is a quintessential meal in every Italian household. It’s light and flavourful, yet filling and so simple to make. With its bold flavours and simple preparation, it typifies classic, rustic Italian fare in every single bite. It can be served as a hearty main dish for a luncheon, or packed up for a picnic at the park or beach. You can enjoy this at any time of the day (except for breakfast, maybe!).

I always associate this rice salad with summer vacations spent in Sardinia, Italy. The familiar flavours of this summertime meal has become a year-round comfort food for me. I’ve been eating this rice salad for as long as I can remember. It reminds of long days at the beach, sitting under the umbrella eating lunch, and warm summer evenings spent sitting around the table with family and friends. Although the recipe seems basic enough, it lends to variety of interpretations, which makes every single recipe unique and just as delicious as the next. The beauty of this insalata di riso is that you can’t mess it up. I mean, it’s nearly impossible. (That is, unless you don’t know how to cook rice!).

Insalata di Riso

This Italian rice salad is simply boiled rice (specifically parboiled), mixed with a variety of condiments, seasoned with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil, sometimes a dollop of mayo, and salt and pepper. Be sure to use good quality extra virgin olive oil in this recipe as it can make or break the recipe. Choose an extra virgin olive oil with a deep green hue for best results.

The traditional insalata di riso recipe calls Condiriso. It’s a delicious blend of preserved vegetables-artichokes, mushrooms, capers, carrots, peas, and more. Most specialty grocery stores stock this item however, if you cannot find it, don’t be deterred from making this recipe. It tastes just as delicious without it!

Over the years I’ve developed my own version of the traditional recipe, and although I have a specific one, the recipe often gets reinvented depending on the availability of seasonal ingredients, or just simply what I’m in the mood for at the time I prepare it. My recipe is only a guideline since insalata di riso is more about the type of preparation as opposed to specific ingredients. In fact, this recipe is totally open to improvisation.

Some delicious ingredients you can add in are: grilled zucchini or eggplant, roasted red peppers, artichokes (canned variety, drained), navy beans or black beans, black or green olives, cubed pieces of prosciutto or cooked ham, Parmesan cheese, smoked salmon, fresh capers, grated mozzarella cheese, pearl onions, canned corn

Serve this insalata di riso cold or at room temperature. Whichever way you prepare or serve it, it’s delicious!

Insalata di Riso

If you try this recipe (and love it!) be sure to snap a pic and tag me onInstagram with #bitesforfoodies so I can see your creation!

Insalata di Riso

2016-06-24
: Serves 4-6
: 10 min
: 20 min

Insalata di riso is an inexpensive summer comfort food that is a quintessential meal in every Italian household. It’s light and flavourful, yet filling and so simple to make. With its bold flavours and simple preparation, it typifies classic, rustic Italian fare in every single bite. It can be served as a hearty main dish for a …

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Insalata di Riso
5
5
1
30
Ingredients
    2 cups parboiled rice (or Arborio rice)
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1 jar of Condiriso, drained
  • 1 cup bocconcini mozzarella, halved or quartered
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled, halved and sliced
  • 1/3 cup black or green olives
  • 2 cans tuna packed in olive oil, drained
  • 2-4 tbs. light mayonnaise (optional)
  • 1/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil (or more as needed)
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Directions

Rice preparation
Bring about 8 cups of water to a boil in large pot. Once boiling, season with 1 tablespoon of sea salt. Add the rice and cook for 1-2 minutes LESS than the suggested cooking time on the box (about 20 minutes). This ensures the rice will be perfectly al dente. Drain the rice in a large colander and set aside to cool.

In the meantime, bring water to a boil in a small pot to prepare the hard-boiled eggs. Once boiling, add the eggs to the water and cook on medium heat for 10-12 minutes. Drain and set aside until cool to the touch. Remove the shells and cut into cubes.

Transfer the rice and eggs to a large mixing bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Mix gently with a large wooden spoon until combined. Season with salt, pepper, and mayonnaise to taste. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let cool in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving. The longer this insalata di riso sits, the better it tastes. In fact, it tastes even better the day after its prepared!

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