Italy has the largest rice growing industry in Europe and in some areas in the north west (Vercelli, in between Turin and Milan) rice farming represents the main activity, No wonder then that rice has a special place in the Italian cuisine.
The Italian dish with rice is Risotto and it can come in many different variations. Learning the technique is a pass par tout to prepare any Risotto. The most famous are Risotto alla Milanese (Risotto yellow with which is the most typical dish in Milan with saffron), Risotto ai funghi (with porcini mushroom), Risotto alla pescatora (with sea food), and many other.
Risotto 4 formaggi (serves 4)
Carnaroli or Arborio rice 350g
1.5 Liters of Vegetable stock
Gorgonzola Piccante 100g
Taleggio DOP 100g
Provolone Auricchietto 80g
Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano Dop 100g (grated)
1/4 of an onion
Black pepper, Salt, Extra virgin olive oil, white cooking wine
Put a couple of spoons of Extra virgin Olive oil in a high sided large pan (non sticking pan requires less stirring). When oil is hot slightly fry the onion chopped, then add the rice and stir for a few minutes to toast the rice a bit. Add a glass of wine and let it evaporate.
From now and for about 16-18 minutes, you have to add one or two large scoops of hot stock with a ladle at the time, let it consume stirring, add again.
When the rice is cooked add the cheese previously chopped in small peices, the butter, the grated Parmigiano, salt as needed, remove from the heat and keep stirring until creamy.
Serve in flat plates so each one can be spread the rice on the plate and grind some black pepper on top. (this is the way we do :)
Enjoy with a glass of your favorite wine, as we say... rice is born in water and dies in wine!
PS: great idea for leftovers is to make little balls, bread them and golden fry!