Italian Rice Salad (Side Dish)Print Grocery List Print Recipe
- 1 cup Arborio or Carnaroli rice (or other Italian short or medium grain rice)
- 8 cups water
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/2 small onion (peeled but not chopped)
- 2 sprigs fresh parsley
- 1 small head radicchio
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 large bell peppers (I used a yellow and an orange one)
- 1/2 cup Taleggio cheese, diced
- 1/4 cup good quality olives (see headnote)
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
- 10 small grape tomatoes (quartered)
- For the Vinaigrette
- 1/2 cup good quality green or black olives, pitted
- 2 teaspoons shallots, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, roughly chopped
- 2 Meyer lemons (or regular lemons, if Meyers aren't available)
- 1 anchovy or 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Make the vinaigrette. Add olives, shallots, parsley, and anchovy to blender. Zest the Meyer lemons or regular lemons and add zest to the blender. (You should have about 2 teaspoons zest.) Cut the lemons in half and juice them. If using a Meyer lemon, you should have about 4 tablespoons juice; Add about 1 tablespoon olive oil to blender, put cover on, and blend until ingredients are pureed. Drizzle the rest of the oil into the blender with the motor running. Taste and see if it needs salt or pepper. (Vinaigrette will keep for a couple of days in the refrigerator.)
Roast the peppers: Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Line a baking sheet with heavy duty aluminum foil. Place peppers on foil and put baking sheet in the oven. Roast peppers and keep checking on them, turning them occasionally, until all surfaces are blackened. This will take about 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and place peppers in a bowl.
Cover securely with plastic wrap until peppers are cool enough to handle (about 20 minutes). Take off plastic wrap, remove stems and seeds, and peel peppers. Chop into thin strips and set aside.
Cook the rice: In a large saucepan, add water, onion, 1 tablespoon salt, parsley sprigs, and rice. Bring to a boil, then immediately turn down the heat until water is at a lively simmer. Cook uncovered for about fifteen minutes. Taste a kernel. Rice should taste tender but firm and not mushy. Remove from heat, and drain rice. Spread rice out on baking sheet to cool.
Make radicchio: Set oven on broil setting. Core radicchio and slice into fourths. Coat with 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt and pepper. Place cut side down on small baking sheet. Broil for five minutes. Immediately turn heat down to 400 degrees and continue roasting for another 10 minutes. Radicchio will be darkened and look crispy. Remove from oven and let cool for about five minutes. Smear 1 teaspoon of olive vinaigrette on each wedge of radicchio. Cut into thick strips and set aside.
Assemble the salad: Put rice in large serving dish or platter. Add roasted peppers, radicchio, olives, parsley, and grape tomatoes. Mix gently to combine. Add vinaigrette to salad, a tablespoon at a time until grains of rice and vegetable are coated with vinaigrette. You don't want the vinaigrette pooling at the bottom of the dish, so be careful not to add too much. Taste and see if it is to your liking. Add freshly ground pepper and salt, if needed. Top with diced cheese and enjoy! (Salad can sit dressed for about a half an hour before serving, if needed.)