Delicious and easy to make, rice salad is a popular dish throughout Tuscany and Umbria, plus it’s ideal to make if you’re feeding a crowd. Naturally there are countless versions of this classic, but we’ve voted Anna Maria’s insalata di riso the very best that we’ve ever had!
Anna Maria was more than happy to share her recipe … although it’s not really a recipe. Well, it’s sort of a recipe. You see, Anna Maria cooks by eye and by taste so amounts are …. well … they’re pretty much nonexistent. Please bear with me as I do my best to share with you her recipe!
Ingredients and Amounts (to my best guess, anyway)
- 1/2 pound basmati rice (dry)
- 1 cup mixed pickled vegetables, drained (ex: carrots, onions, artichoke, peppers, corn) Note: On grocery stores shelves in Italy you’ll find jars of mixed pickled vegetables, called condiriso, specifically for making rice salad. You can improvise by using individual jars of different vegetables. The important thing is that they are packed in white vinegar.
- 1/2 cup canned sweet corn, drained
- 1/2 cup green peas (fresh or frozen)
- 1/2 cup diced black olives
- 1/2 cup diced red pepper
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 hard-boiled eggs, diced
- 1 large can yellow fin tuna
- fresh basil leaves, chopped
- extra virgin olive oil
- white wine vinegar
Cook rice according to the instructions on the package. Allow rice to cool slightly, then mix in the vegetables, tuna and olive oil. There’s no specific amount on the olive oil, but I can tell you that Anna Maria pours generously. Add salt and “enough” white wine vinegar. (I’d say about 2 tablespoons or to suit your taste.)
Top with chopped fresh basil leaves. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve, and then serve at room temperature.
Note: Be sure to serve the salad at room temperature – not cold – because the ingredients (including the olive oil) release their full flavor at room temperature.
For variations add:
- Small cubes of Parmigiano, sweet Provolone or Gruyère cheese
- Diced frankfurters (instead of tuna)
Pamela Haack creates and hosts boutique-style, small group tours that are a combination of the very best of Italy: the exciting and the peaceful, the popular and the secret, the talked about and the never-heard-of-before. From art experts and operettas to authentic cooking classes and ancient Etruscans, Pamela helps visitors experience the spectacularly beautiful, endlessly interesting cities and countryside of Italy in an up-close and personal way – off the beaten strada.
She is also the author of Top 10 Favorite Etruscan Sites, as well as her popular blog, Off the Beaten Strada in Italy.
Pamela lives with her husband, Lou, in Umbria, Italy.