Loretta Sebastiani

Loretta Sebastiani
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Risotto with cabbage, salami and borlotti beans
( Paniscia novarese )

Traditional recipe from Piedmont

Paniscia risotto is a traditional recipe in the area of Novara (Piedmont), which is typically done in two stages. It is necessary a vegetable soup to cook rice and a lot of people prepare it the day before. Hard-working and high-calorie dish but a must for those who love the combination cabbage, rice and beans.

difficulty: difficult

time: preparation:40 minutes
cooking: 1 hour 30 minutes
total: 2 hours 10 minutes

calories: 676 (kCal)

Ingredients / Serves 6

  • 450g (1 pound) savoy cabbage
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 sticks white celery, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 250g (8 3/4 ounces) leek, trimmed and diagonally sliced
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 300g (10 1/2 ounces) beans (borlotti)
  • 4 slices of bacon- fat
  • 300g (10 1/2 ounces) salami in fat
  • 250 ml (8 1/2 fluid ounces) red wine
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 420g (14.8 ounces) long-grain, parboiled rice
  • Salt
Medium difficulty
preparation:40 minutes
cooking: 1 hour 30 minutes
total: 2 hours 10 minutes
How many calories in a serving?
Calories: 676 (kcal) 34 % - 2828 (kJ)
Protein: 20.7 (g) 42 % GDA
Total fat: 34.9 (g) 50 % GDA
Total carbohydrate: 77.4 (g) 29 % GDA
Sugars: 6.9 (g) 8 % GDA

Download free PDF version (160 download).

Recipe for risotto with beans, cabbage and salami

Preparation and cooking

  • - Prepare vegetable soup.
    Put all vegetables (except beans), salt and dried herbs in a large saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil.
    Cook gently, 45 minutes.
    Then add beans and continue cooking, other 15 minutes.
    Your vegetable soup must not be too thick. You'll use it to cook risotto. In any case, you should also have hot water on hand, cooking risotto, in case your vegetable soup should be diluted.
  • - Cooking risotto.
    Put olive oil, bacon-fat and salami in fat, peeled and crumbled, in a large saucepan.
    Cook gently for 3-5 minutes on very low heat in order to melt lard and then stir in rice.
    Cook stirring frequently, until rice looks milky, 3 to 4 minutes.
    Add wine, and simmer until absorbed, stirring.
    At this point add 2 ladlefuls of your vegetable soup and simmer until absorbed, stirring.
    Continue adding soup, ladle by ladle, until rice is tender.
    You'll need about 15 minutes.

Just before serving

  • - Wait a couple of minutes before serving



  • - If you have guests, put a little bowl full of grated Parmesan cheese on the table. Everyone will serve to taste. This is essential nowadays, given the growing number of people intolerant to dairy products.
  • - If you have any paniscia left, do not worry! The next day, heated in a non-stick pan until it makes a nice crust, it is even better.
  • - Some tips for beans.
    I use fresh beans in early autumn (to have 300g of fresh beans you have to buy 600g of beans in the pod).
    In late autumn and winter I use frozen beans or dried ones. Generally, I soak 150g dried beans.

Menu planning

  • - I seldom prepare paniscia risotto for my family menu. Read its calories and fat to understand why. When I make paniscia (once or twice in cold months) I double its doses to have a portion for the next day too.
    It is more common for our eating habits to prepare risotto with savoy cabbage and beans with no added animal fat.
  • - I sometimes plan get-togethers with friends that I know are paniscia lovers. But I serve smaller amount of this risotto if there are other dishes in my menu.
    Paniscia is certainly not a dish to include in a formal and refined menu. First of all because it is too rich in ingredients and then because quite heavy to digest.

Healthy eating

  • - Paniscia calories and fat are very high.
    Paniscia is a traditional dish of Novara countryside (Piedmont). It was prepared in cold months by farmers who worked and moved a lot and lived in cold houses. Today we have a different lifestyle and so our food must be different. Do you agree?
  • - Fiber per serving: 7.0 grams


What's the right wine for " Risotto with cabbage, salami and borlotti beans "?

My husband and I pair Barbera (red Italian wine from Piedmont) to paniscia risotto but we also match Novello wine (new wine) in autumn too.