Panissa Piemontese 

Risotto alla Vercellese 

 

The Panissa is a special risotto made in Piedmont.
It is a typical dish made in
 Vercelli and Novara
, where rice is produced in large quantities. The special salame used in this preparation is calledSalam ‘dla duja. Duja is a container full of lard where the salame is preserved. In fact because the area of production is damp, due to the numerous paddy fields and because the curing of the meat necessitates dry air, the salami are preserved in the duja covered with lard until they are mature and ready to be eaten.
The panissa is a hearty dish containing meat, cereals, cheese and herbs. It takes time and care to prepare, and results into a creamy risotto with full-bodied flavors and a discerning taste.
 

 

Serves 4 

THE BEANS   

INGREDIENTS

·1 tablespoon of olive oil 

·¾ cup dry red beans 

·½ small onion finely diced 

·sprig of rosemary 

·1 bay leaf 

·8 oz. Salam ‘dla duja. Substitute with a soft and mild salame  

·4 oz. bacon rind or 4 oz. of prosciutto  

·Salt and pepper to taste. 

Preparation

 

Inspect dry beans for any small stones or foreign article, rinse well. Soak the beans in a large pot with plenty of water for 24 hours, changing the water two or three times.

In a 5 ½ quart sauté pan, place 1 tablespoon of oil and the diced onion.

Cook over a medium heat for a few minutes stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent.

 

Drain the beans and cover with enough water to be 3 inches above the beans; add the sprig of rosemary, the bay leaf, the salame, bacon rind, and salt and pepper to taste. Heat to a boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer covered at a low heat for 1¼ hours, stirring occasionally. 

Transfer the salame and rind into a dish. Discard the skin of the salami and crumble it, also mince the rind or prociutto and set on the side.
Use a strainer to separate the beans from the broth and reserve broth to use for cooking the rice. Discard bay leaf and the
 sprig of rosemary

 

THE PANISSA   

INGREDIENTS

·1 tablespoon of olive oil

·1 tablespoon of butter

·1 small onion finely diced

·10 oz. of Baldo rice or 4 fistful - 1 for each person

·1 cup of red wine

· 2 oz.1 thick slice pancetta, diced 

·4 oz. grated Parmesan cheese

·cooked beans as per above recipe

  

Preparation

 

Warm the broth from the beans in a saucepan over a medium heat.

Heat the olive oil in a 5 ½ quart heavy sauté pan over a medium-high heat. Add the butter and the onion.

Sauté a few minutes and when onion is translucent stir in the crumbled salame and the minced rind or prociutto. Sauté for an additional 2 minutes and add ½ cup of broth, stirring occasionally until the broth is absorbed.  

 

Check the time; total cooking time for the rice is 15 to 16 minutes.

Add the rice, stirring until it is well coated and turns translucent about 2 minutes.

Stir in the red wine and bring to a simmer over medium low heat.
When wine is almost absorbed, ladle some of the hot bean broth into the rice stirring until it is absorbed. Add a little salt and pepper.
Continue cooking and add more broth as needed, a little at a time, stirring continuously.

 

Cook the rice for 10 minutes, and then add the beans, salame, prosciutto and the diced pancetta. 

When the rice is cooked al dente, season it with salt and pepper. Total cooking time should be about 16 minutes; if you prefer a different consistency continue simmer until the rice is cooked the way you like it.
Remove from the heat, add 2 tablespoons of grated cheese and gently turn for about 1 minute.

 

Serve immediately with the remaining Parmesan cheese and black pepper on the side.
Perfect wines to match the panissa are Gattinara wine produced in the hills near
 Vercelli, or a young Barbera with fresh and intense aroma or else a clean soft and fruity Dolcetto wine.