Paniscia di Novara (Rice and Beans from Novara)

Novara is situated in the Po plain near the border of Lombardia. It has a beautiful historic center and is noted for its agrciulture, especially rice cultivation. A classic rice dish is panissa or paniscia. There’s no true panissa out of Italy but you can get very close. Use Vialone nano (preferred) or Carnaroli rice, Both will keep their structure while cooking, without releasing too much starch, although the Vialone nano, being a semi-fino grained rice, will perform much better in texture than Carnaroli. Typical salame used is fresh spiced pork meat preserved under lard (Salam d’la Duja – salame sotto grasso) and is a delicacy rarely found outside of Piedmont. Substitute a good salame or cotechino made by Molinari in San Francisco, which will give results pretty close to the original dish.


  • 1 cup borlotti beans(cranberry beans)
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 rib celery
  • 2 shallots peeled, one left whole and one minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, one left whole and one minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 oz salt pork (cottene di maiale)
  • 12 oz Vialone nanno or Carnaroli rice
  • 1 tbsp tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup Barbera or other red wine
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup minced soppressata or cotechino


  1. Soak the beans the nigth before. Next day, drain the beans and transfer them to a 2 quart soup pot. Add the carrot, celery, whole shallot, whole clove garlic, and bay leaves. Cover with water and cook them for 45 minutes to an hour.They should remain al dente. Let them cool in the liquid.
  2. In a small skillet cook the salt pork until it begins to release its fat. Add the minced shallot and garlic and cook over lowl heat untll they soften. Stir in the rice and toast it over medium heat. Stir in the tomato sauce. Stir in the wine and allow it to evaporate. Add 5 to 6 ladles of the reserved bean broth and cook for 15 minutes on medium low heat. Do not stir the rice too much. Keep adding broth until the rice is almost cooked. Stir in 1/2 cup of the cooked beans. When rice is almost cooked, stir n the remaining beans, the salame, and a good grinding of black pepper.

This recipe was featured on Season 19 - Episode 1917.

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