This all-in-one dish is inspired by the rice salads offered during aperitivos at bars in Rome. Chef Chris Behr of the Rome Sustainable Food Project elevates standard bar fare with lots of fresh herbs, crunchy fennel, and slices of soppressata and cheese.
Slideshow:More Rice Salad Recipes
1 1/2 cups arborio rice (10 ounces)
1 1/2 cups fresh or thawed frozen peas
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar, plus more for drizzling (optional)
4 ounces thinly sliced soppressata, sliced into 1/2-inch strips
1 cup pitted green olives, such as Cerignola or Castelvetrano, halved
1 medium fennel bulb—halved lengthwise, cored and very thinly sliced on a mandoline, plus 1/3 cup small fronds for garnish
4 scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
1/3 cup parsley leaves
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
How to Make It
In a medium saucepan of salted boiling water, cook the rice over moderate heat until al dente, about 15 minutes. Just before draining, add the peas and cook for 1 minute. Drain the rice and peas well and spread in an even layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle the 3 tablespoons of vinegar over the rice and peas and let cool slightly, about 15 minutes.
In a large bowl, toss the rice and peas with the cheese, soppressata, olives, sliced fennel, scallions and parsley. Drizzle with the olive oil and more vinegar, if desired. Season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Garnish with the fennel fronds and serve.
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Review Body: This recipe is pretty good, but there are elements that drive me nuts. First, why are we using arborio rice, which by design is kind of creamy, and then we're told to let it "drain." Why not just use a less creamy rice? Also, I was not down with the use of white wine vinegar. This recipe calls out for a lemony vinagrette, and that's what I made and that's what I used. Other than these complaints, the flavors come together pretty well, and I will make this again, but I will also use another type of rice--maybe paella rice. By the way, I enjoyed the caciocavallo olives; I'd never tried them before. Nice complement to the rest of the ingredients.