Riso Alla Siciliana

Sicilian Rice

This delicious rice dish brings together all the most typical flavours of Sicilian cuisine. It should be lukewarm when served but never refrigerated. You can add more tomatoes fried in olive oil and flavoured with marjoram if you like. It’s delicious served as part of a summer buiffet with other vegetable dishes. As in many Sicilian dishes, it is the layering of the three main parts of the dish which is important, mixing them all up together would completely change the nature of the dish.

Ingredients

  • 1 large salted anchovy or 2 anchovy fillets
  • 300 g (10 oz) long-grain rice
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • about 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 wineglass, about 150 ml (5 fl oz), white wine
  • juice of 3 lemons
  • ½ teaspoon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon tomato paste
  • 3 firm ripe tomatoes, halved, seeded and cubed
  • 50 g (2 oz) black olives, stoned
  • a large pinch of dried marjoram

Method

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Put a plate on top of the pan, covering the water. Lay the anchovy on the plate and mash it with a fork. It will dissolve smoothly with heat. When the anchovy has melted, remove the plate and add the rice to the water and cook until tender.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, fry the onion in 2 tablespoons olive oil. When the onion is golden and soft, sprinkle the vinegar over it and allow it to evaporate for 2 minutes. Add the wine, lemon juice, mustard, anchovy and tomato paste. Mix with great care, then sieve once to make a smooth sauce.

Drain the rice and spread it out on a warmed serving platter. Pour the sauce over it and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. While the rice cools slightly, fry the tomato cubes quickly in about 3 tablespoons olive oil for 1 minute, then mix in the olives and the marjoram. Pour them over the rice and sauce, then serve.

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