Panissa risotto and beans
Panissa risotto and beans is the North Italian equivalent of pasta and beans. A traditional peasant dish also known as paniscia or panizza depending on the local dialect.
We were introduced to panissa risotto and beans by Signora Carla at the Principato di Lucedio near Trino in the Vercelli province of Piedmont. In this area surrounded by rice fields, people can distinguish carnaroli from aborrio, and they know how to make their risotto creamy and tasty without using more than the most basic ingredients. In this case Signora Carla used red wine instead of white and a particular sausage from Novara known as ‘salamin d’ la duja‘. This speciality is virtually unobtainable outside Piedmont, but in my opinion a Bratwurst or Frankfurter will make an acceptable substitute.
For the soup
200 g borlotti beans soaked for 12 hours.
300 g cabbage
1 stick of celery
4 bay leaves
1 l water
For the risotto
350 g rice (here Carnaroli di Lucedio)
1 white onion
1 salamin d’la duja (Bratwurst or grill sausage can be used instead)
1 glass of red wine
1 tbsp tomato paste
Olive oil, salt and pepper
50 g butter
4 tbsp grated parmesan
Drain the soaked beans and boil them for 40 minutes with chopped green cabbage, carrot, celery and bay leaves. Discard the vegetables and the bay leaves, but keep the soup on the boil.
Peel and chop the onion for the risotto and fry it in oil for a few minutes.
Remove the skin from the sausage and chop it up in smaller pieces. Add the sausage to the onion and let it sweat a while.
Stir in the risotto rice and fry until the rice starts to become transparent.
Add tomato paste and red wine and let the alcohol evaporate.
Pour cups of beans and bean soup over the rice every time they start to seem dry.
Keep stirring. According to Signora Carla it is very important never to leave a risotto alone.
After about 20 minutes the rice should be tender but still have bite.
Add salt and ground pepper to taste.
Cut the butter up in smaller lumps. Stir them into the risotto along with grated parmesan.
And the panissa risotto with beans is ready to serve.
We were invited to Lucedio by Biteg – Borsa internazionale del turismo enogastronomico
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