In Italy, the rice used for salads is normally of the Superfino quality, like Carnaroli Rice, characterized by grains with a bigger and longer size and a slightly longer cooking time. Carnaroli rice can be found in many grocery stores also outside Italy, but a good quality parboiled rice (partially pre-boiled, to make it less sticky) will give you excellent results as well.
As I mentioned before, virtually any type of ingredients can be added to a rice salad, based on what is available in the pantry or your personal taste; from ham to cheese, tuna, sliced franks, peas, tomatoes, even pickles, olives and capers, use them all; just make sure to cut and dice everything very small, so the ingredients blend nicely with the rice creating a colorful mix. Here is my suggestion:
Ingredients and Instructions (serves 4):
- 12 ounces/335 grams of parboiled rice
- 2 ½ ounces/70 grams of ham, in one thick slice
- 2 ½ ounces/70 grams of cooked peas
- 2 ½ ounces/70 grams of fontina cheese, in one thick slice
- 4 ounces/100 grams of tuna in olive oil
- 2 ripe Roma tomatoes
- 1 stick of celery
- 1 hot dog, cooked
- 1 boiled egg
- 10 pitted black olives
- ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil or mayonnaise
- ¼ cup of salted capers, not in vinegar
- 2 tablespoons of minced fresh parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
- Boil the rice in salted water, drain it al dente and let it cool almost completely.
- Drain the tuna and using a fork crumble it finely. Dice the ham in about 1/2 inch (1 cm), do the same with the fontina cheese and the hot dog. Slice finely the hardboiled egg.
- Rinse the capers and the olives, cut the olives into thin slices.
- Wash the celery and slice it finely. Wash, seed and dice the tomatoes, same size as the other ingredients.
- Put the rice in a large bowl, add tuna, ham, fontina cheese, hot dog, peas, olives and capers and celery. Season with the extra-virgin olive oil or the mayonnaise and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Place the rice on a serving dish, garnish with the sliced hardboiled egg and cool in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving.
For a party, an original presentation for rice salad is to serve it in glasses, topped with a cherry tomato or parsley leaves.
Wine suggestion: differentwhite wines can be served with this rice salad, from Soave to Pinot Grigio, from Verdicchio to Sauvignon Blanc.
Cinzia Aversa, 2013