Yesterday I woke up with no will nor power for fussy cooking.
I have been in the kitchen non-stop for the past 3 weeks testing and tasting for clients and projects, the thought of spending additional time preparing dinner was unquestionably out of the question. Yet it was a lovely afternoon and I wanted to treat my family to a good meal and spend some precious time with the kids outside. We are very taken by badminton at the moment and my son had an explosive science project he wanted to show me. The science project was explosive indeed. It required a large amount of my cornstarch and soda water, we survived in one piece and dinner turned out even more explosive and a slam-dunk with the family, something I feel is,
at times, more rewarding than a Michelin star.
What I made was insalata di riso. That’s a very Italian rice salad. It’s a classing dish made on summer days and it mostly appears at large gatherings and picnics.
The rice is boiled for 15 minutes with fresh or frozen peas and rinsed in cold water to cool it off and to get rid of most of the starch. Then the fun starts. The classic recipe calls for good canned tuna in olive oil, hard boiled eggs, diced tomatoes, some green olives, pickled vegetables, roasted peppers and yes, don’t run away, wusterls. They are the German or the Italian equivalent to the American hot dogs. Once you taste them sliced , cold and combined with all the other goodies, you’ll be forever hooked, because I strongly, believe, one cannot always feed on balsamic reductions.
In the end the whole thing gets dressed with olive oil and lemon juice, salt and pepper, a sprinkle
of chopped parsley, some basil, parmesan slivers and if you feel frisky also with a couple of spoons of good mayonnaise. It’s best to let it rest it in the fridge for at least an hour to combine all the flavors but a full stop overnight makes it even better.
Of course as you can imagine, the variation are many. You can boil the rice with aromatics or saffron to get a flavor kick, change the rice to a black or a red rice, add all sorts of ingredients like shrimps or swordfish or humble chicken or substitute the wurstel for a cured fancy salame or prosciutto, but who has time or the will to go to Brooklyn and run in one more bearded artisanal butcher. Besides I love the original recipe too much to change it.
I made the insalata di riso, in less the 25 minutes, if you are smart and organized you can chop all the ingredients while the rice is cooking and cook the eggs in the rice water during the last 10 minutes .
I also poached some sweet cherries in red wine, then since I cannot help myself, I made a vanilla budino. It was a great meal, everybody was happy and my kids kicked my derriere at badminton. I posted the pictures on facebook and instagram and this morning I was inundated with requests for the recipe, so here it is.
I hope you have a great lazy and tasty 4th of July and for once don’t spend too much time in the kitchen.