Rice and beans? Discover Paniscia and Panissa

Time for rice and beans! Let’s discover two traditional Piedmont recipes: paniscia and panissa


Rice and beans are used in many traditional recipes, especially in Piedmont. Let’s see together how to make the most of these two ingredients by rediscovering ancient and tasty recipes.

The eternal disputes about Paniscia from Novara and Panissa from Vercelli involves two protagonists of the winter tables in Upper Piedmont: rice and beans. Risotto.us, the Italian website dedicated to risotto, with almost 400 recipes that you can easily browse by ingredient, tells us more about these traditional dishes and their variations (soups and bean salad).


Bean Risotto

Beans (and legumes in general) are considered very caloric ingredients. In fact, their high nutritional value consists mainly of proteins and carbohydrates, which combine perfectly with those of cereals, creating one-dish meals with a precious nutritional value.

Bean risotto, for example, if prepared without adding fat, provides all the nutrients that would be taken from meat and eggs, but without cholesterol! To help this aspect is the lecithin of legumes, which promotes the emulsion of fats, preventing them from accumulating in the blood and configuring these ingredients as allies to “lower your cholesterol”…


rice and beans: ingredients to make risotto


Ingredients rice and beans recipe – 4 people

  • 300 gr. of arborio rice
  • 300 gr. of dried borlotti beans
  • half onion
  • 200 gr. of tomato puree
  • 50 gr. of Speck Alto Adige PGI
  • 70 gr. of grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 glass of red wine
  • parsley


Preparation: approx. 14 hours

Cooking time: 1.5 hours


Instructions for rice and beans original recipe

How to make rice and borlotti beans? First of all, it is recommended to use dried beans. There are also green-eyed beans, which contain more fibre, and black beans, but we recommend cooking the rice with ordinary beans (Borlotti, Spain, Corona, Cannellini).

  • Take a pot and soak the borlotti beans in cold water for about 12 hours.
  • Next, boil the borlotti beans in salted water for about an hour and a half.
  • Brown the chopped onion and speck over low heat in a saucepan.
  • Add the rice and toast it for a few minutes. Add the previously boiled beans, stirring continuously.
  • Deglaze with red wine and cook. Add the hot stock from time to time.
  • When the risotto and beans are cooked, stir in the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Decorate with chopped parsley.


For our rice beans need to be prepared carefully: because they are rich in fibre, they need to be soaked for at least half a day before boiling for at least an hour.

This is a necessary step as rice and beans have very different cooking times! Combine the boiled beans with the rice and proceed as usual with the gradual addition of stock until cooked.

Canned beans can, of course, also be used in the rice and beans recipe. However, it is necessary to wash them well before use or reduce the amount of salt when preparing the risotto, as canned beans have a higher amount of sodium.


Paniscia VS Panissa

Do you know paniscia novarese and paniscia vercellese? They have the same origin and their name is clear about that: before being made with rice, they were probably prepared with “panicum”, the Latin translation of millet. Then rice cultivation changed these recipes, leading to the two “twin” dishes from Novara and Vercelli.


Paniscia from Novara

In Novara, Paniscia has a base of vegetable broth (especially cabbage and carrots) to which are added rice, beans and crumbled duja salami.


rice: the paniscia from Novara

Ingredients for paniscia – 4 people

  • 350 gr. of arborio rice
  • 200 gr. of beans
  • 200 g Savoy cabbage
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 80 g leek
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 litre water
  • 1 salamino della duja in fat
  • 50 g pork rind
  • 60 g lard
  • 60 gr. of butter
  • 1 glass of red wine
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato puree
  • 40 gr. of liver mortadella

Preparation: 2.5 hours

Cooking time: 140 minutes


Paniscia recipe instructions

  • Pour plenty of water into a pot. Cook the beans and rind for about an hour.
  • Add diced cabbage, leek and celery. Continue cooking the stock for another hour. Simmer for two hours. In total, the stock should cook for about 4 hours.
  • Meanwhile, chop the onion and cook it with butter and lard. Add the salamino della duja and liver mortadella with the tomato puree to the sauté.
  • Deglaze with red wine and add the rice. Allow the rice to take on flavour and continue cooking, pouring in hot broth with the beans and vegetables.
  • When the preparation of the paniscia novarese recipe is finished, cream with butter and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.


Panissa from Vercelli

In Vercelli, Panissa has a base of animal fat broth (it was made with the waste from pig slaughter) to which are added rice, Saluggia or Villata beans, crumbled duja salami and red wine.

Let’s take a closer look at all the steps in the Piedmontese panissa recipe!

rice: panissa from Vercelli


Ingredients for the panissa recipe – 4 people

  • 350 gr. of Carnaroli rice
  • 200 gr. of Saluggia beans
  • one garlic clove
  • one carrot
  • one and a half onions
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 ripe tomato
  • 1 salami della duja
  • 100 gr. of lard
  • 1 glass of red wine
  • salt to taste

Preparation: 16 hours

Cooking: 4.5 hours


Instructions for the panissa recipe

  • Leave the beans to soak for 12 hours.
  • Then boil the beans for 4 hours in plenty of water with the onion and carrot, celery, garlic, chopped tomato, half a salami and salt.
  • Melt the chopped lard in a pan over low heat with half a sliced onion and the remaining salami crushed with a fork.
  • Add the sautéed meat, the rice and toast it all for a few minutes, deglazing with red wine.
  • Gradually add the stock and the half boiled and crumbled salami. Leave to cook for 16 minutes, taking care to stir the ingredients often.
  • Turn off the heat and let the panissa Piedmontese recipe rest for a couple of minutes.


There is no more or less good: those who visit these territories are encouraged to taste them both! From these dishes come many variations in broth, from soups to bean salad, typical of the Carnival season (for example, the Panizza from Valsesia).

Did you like the article on Paniscia and Panissa recipes? Book now your experience in Piedmont with the Food Expert and learn more about the fascinating world of Italian rice!


About Author

Sito dedicato esclusivamente al riso in cucina. Il suo piatto forte sono le ricette. La sua mission è promuovere la conoscenza del risotto e dei piatti a base di riso in Italia. www.risotto.us


Leave a Reply