Rice is an annual herbaceous plant originating from China, where it has been cultivated for ages. From China, it spread to all tropical and sub-tropical parts of the world. It also reached other areas in the world with temperate climates, including Italy – which is, to date, Europe’s largest rice producer. Today, rice feeds more than half the world's population, at least 4 billion people. The particular botanical feature of this grains is the root. The root produces aerifero parenchymatous tissue, which allows the rice to live in an aquatic environment. This profoundly influences the cultivation methods, as rice is grown on land that is completely covered by water. The collected product is called paddy rice. It is not edible and must go through a "husking" process, that removes the chaff. Depending on the degree of refinement, you can get brown rice, semi-brown rice and white rice. In brown rice, all of the nutritional contents (fiber, minerals, vitamins) are intact, while white rice are faster to cook, easier to digest and have a more delicate flavor.
From a nutritional point of view, brown rice is very rich in minerals, including iron, zinc, selenium, calcium and manganese – fundamental for the absorption of vitamins in the human body. Selenium is particularly important for its strong antioxidant properties. These properties help prevent cellular damage from free radicals, that may contribute to the development of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Brown rice also contains B vitamins, which disappear along with the minerals and the fiber, during the processing of white rice.
Rice grains have a different composition than wheat grains. While wheat is richer in protein, rice contains more starch, meaning that it absorbs larger quantities of water – up to three times its own weight – while cooking. For this reason, rice has less calories and is more filling than pasta. Protein properties in rice are found in very limited quantities. In particular, the percentage of prolammine is very low, making rice proteins unable to form gluten. The biological value of rice proteins is slightly higher than that of wheat proteins. There is also a higher content of lysine, an essential amino acid which in very limited amounts in cereal grains. Out of all of the cereal grains, rice has the lowest allergenic potential.
MAIA offers a variety of different types of rice:
Black rice is native to China, but is now grown in particular areas of the Po Valley. It’s a pleasantly aromatic, whole-grained rice, with a flavour that hints of a mixture of sandalwood and freshly baked bread. The black color is a rare feature. As legend has it, this rice was grown by Chinese farmers exclusively for the emperor and his court, who appreciated it for its nutritional and aphrodisiacal properties (hence its legendary name, “forbidden rice”). It makes a perfect garnish for meat dishes, but goes especially well with fish and shellfish dishes.
Carnaroli rice grains are rich in amylose, a substance that contributes to the grain’s consistency. It has special culinary features. It’s superior absorption capacity and low loss of starch guarantee a high-quality cooked product. Infact, the rice comes out perfect and consistent. For these reasons, this rice is considered of the utmost quality, and a favorite with master chefs. It is a great rice for making risotto and other high-quality dishes.
Red rice often grows out in the wild, in places where there is clay soil. For this reason, this red rice is often called "wild". It has a very aromatic fragrance and a red ruby coloring. It has a sweet taste and once it is cooked, the grain becomes a mottled white color and puffy. Once cooked, you can conserve it in the refrigerator for several days and it gives off the classic spicy fragrance of exotic rice. It's great sauteed with vegetables and spices.
Ribe brown rice is a staple food for natural cooking. Inside the rice grain there is the bran and the germ, which contain the most important part of the nutrients. It goes together well with meats and cheeses, as well as legumes and vegetables. It is also great for side dishes, soups and salads.
Aromatic long rice comes from crossing Thai rice and Pakistani basmati rice. Its distinctive aroma is reminiscent of freshly baked bread crust, making it unique and much appreciated. In order to get the most out of its fragrance, taste, and benefits, it is highly recommended to enjoy it plain, with butter and Parmesan cheese or as a side dish (pilaf). It is also excellent for making rice salads.
The process of traditional stone "husking" and a careful selection guarantee that our rices have an "extra quality", ie they have tangible characteristics of excellence, which is a guarantee in itself since it is only granted to products that have less than 1 / 3 of the defects that have already been estimated by the law.
How to use them
Basic recipe: rice must always be thoroughly washed before cooking it. The black rice, the red rice and the ribe brown rice cook in about 40 minutes. The carnaroli takes about 15-18 minutes to cook, while the aromatic long rice takes only 12-15 minutes.
Black rice with shrimp and zucchini
Ingredients (makes 4 servings): 200 g medium and small-sized shelled shrimp, 300 g black rice, 2 courgets, 1 tablespoon of chives, 1 scallion, 1 cup of white wine, extra virgin olive oil, salt
Cooking Instructions: boil the rice in a large amount of salted water for 40/45 minutes, chop the scallion and sautee it with some olive oil in a non-stick frying pan for a few minutes. Cut the courgets in cubes and add them to the scallions. Cook on a high heat for a few minutes and then add the shrimp, and a dash of white wine. Strain the rice and toss it in the pan with the courgets and shrimp. Right before turning off the flame, add the finely chopped chives.
Cream of pumpkin with black rice timbale
Ingredients (makes 4 servings): 800 g pumpkin, 300 g potatoes, 300 g black rice, 40 g butter, 90 g grated parmesan cheese, 1 onion, 1 packet of saffron, extra virgin olive oil, salt
Cooking Instructions: boil the rice in a large amount of salted water for 40/45 minutes, strain it and put the butter and parmesan cheese on it. Pour the rice into 4 baking molds. Chop the onion and sautee it in some olive oil for a few minutes, lightly browning it. Add the chopped pumpkin and potatoes and let them cook together for a few minutes, then add some hot vegetable broth. When they are finished cooking, blend all of the ingredients in the blender and add the packet of saffron to the pumpkin cream. Place the mold s on the plates and cover them with the pumpkin cream and a drizzle of fresh olive oil.
Black rice with spinach and salmon sauce
Ingredients (makes 4 servings): 300 g black rice, 240 g salmon, 240 g fresh spinach, 1 cup of milk, 1 tablespoon of flour, 1 medium-sized onion, salt and pepper
Cooking Instructions: Chop the onion, and blond it in a pan with some olive oil. Cut the salmon into pieces and add it to the pan with the spinach leaves. Sautee them together and then add the milk, and after a little time, also the flour. In the meantime, boil the rice in a large amount of salted water for 40/45 minutes. Drain the rice and dress it with the salmon and spinach sauce.
Tomatoes stuffed with black rice
Ingredients (makes 4 servings): 150 g black rice, 4 medium-sized tomatoes, 1 chopped onion, 1 clove of chopped garlic, a dash of oregano, 1 tablespoon of chopped parsely, 2 salted anchovies finely chopped, 5 fresh, chopped basil leaves, 50 g mozzarella or ricotta cut in cubes, 4 slices of a soft, fatty cheese, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper
Cooking Instructions: empty out the tomatoes and boil the rice in a large amount of salted water for 40/45 minutes. Chop up the tomatoe insides together with the other ingredients (except the soft, fatty cheese), mix them all together with the rice and make a filling, adding salt and pepper as needed. Stuff the tomatoes and put them in the oven at 180° for 25/30 minutes. A few minutes before taking them out of the oven, put the slices of the soft, fatty cheese on top and keep them in the oven until it has all fully melted.
Black rice with asparagus and bacon
Ingredients (makes 4 servings): 300 g black rice, 5/6 asparagus per person, 8 eggs, 8 slices of smoked bacon, a piece of butter, 4 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper
Cooking Instructions: boil the rice in a large amount of salted water for 40/45 minutes, drain it and put it aside. Cook the asparagus in water with salt and lemon juice for 20 minutes. In a non-stick frying pan, sautee the bacon with a bit of olive oil. Break the eggs on top of the bacon, making sure that the yolk stays intact and let them cook. On the plate, arange the rice in the form of a circle. Butter the asparagus and place them on top of the rice. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese on top and then place the eggs and bacon. Serve the plates while hot.
Apples stuffed with black rice
Ingredients (makes 4 servings): 80 g black rice (cooked for 40 minutes), 4 big apples, 30 g butter, 1 tablespoon sugar, a dash of ground cinnamon, sweet grappa or maraschino juice, powdered sugar
Cooking Instructions: empty out the central part of the apples, removing their inner core from the bottom. Prepare the filling, mixing the rice with a part of the sugar, the grappa/maraschino juice and the cinnamon. Fill the apples with the stuffing and place them on a buttered baking dish. Melt the butter and pour it over the apples. Sprinkle the remaining sugar on top and bake at 180 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, place the apples on a serving dish and cover them with powdered sugar and the sauce they cooked in.
Ingredients (makes 4 servings): 300 g red rice (or ribe brown rice), extra virgin olive oil, vegetable broth, 2 mature peaches, grated parmesan cheese, salt
Cooking Instructions: heat up a pan with the oil and toast the rice in the pan, stirring it for 3-4 minutes and then gradually add the hot broth. In the meantime, clean the peaches and sautee them in a skillet with some butter and a bit of white wine. When the rice is half-way cooked, add the sauteed peaches and finish cooking it. Turn off the burner when the rice is still “al dente” or chewy, and add some butter and grated parmesan cheese.
Red rice with artichoke hearts and stracchino cheese
Ingredients (makes 4 servings): 300 g red rice, 1 liter vegetable broth, 30 g butter, 6 artichoke hearts, lemon zest from half of a lemon, 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, 1 shallot, 150 g Stracchino cheese, 2-3 branches of thyme
Cooking Instructions: chop the shallot and sautee them in the frying pan with some olive oil, then add the red rice and toast it together. Gradually add the broth, a laddle at a time and cook the rice for about 35-40 minutes. In the meantime, wash the artichokes and remove the hard outer leaves. Finely cut the artichokes hearts. Finely chop the thyme leaves and mix them together with the lemon zest. Add the artichokes to the rice and let them cook together for another 10 minutes. Just before removing the pan from the heat, add the lemon zest and thyme. Add the stracchino and mix well. Finally add the parmesan cheese and serve.
Red rice salad
Ingredients (makes 4 servings): 300 g red rice, 100 g chickpeas, 100 g Asiago cheese, chives, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper
Cooking Instructions: Boil the chickpeas, drain them and let them cool. In the meantime, boil the rice in salted water for about 40-45 minutes. Put everything into a bowl and add the Asiago cheese cut in pieces, the chives, chopped into little rings, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Serve cold.
Red rice with squash and chickory
Ingredients (makes 4 servings): 200 g red rice, 300 g pumpkin, chickory (Cichorium intybus - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicory), 1 leek, white whine, vegetable broth, paprika, nutmeg, parsely
Cooking Instructions: boil the rice in a large pot of salted water for about 35 minutes. In a pan, heat up some olive oil and toss in the finly cut leek, and pumpkin cut into cubes, and add a dash of white wine. Add the broth and cover the vegetables, letting them cook together for about 15 minutes. Clean and chop the chickory and add it to the other vegetables and let them cook another 5 minutes, adding more broth if necessary. Add the boiled red rice to the vegetables, and let them cook 10 minutes, adding the necessary amount of salt. Finish the dish by adding the final touch of paprika, nutmeg and chopped parsely, as preferred.
Red rice with melon
Ingredients (makes 4 servings): 3 liters chilled jasmine tea, 400 g red rice, 3 stalks of white celery, 1 small melon, 400 g chicken breast, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, mint leaves
Cooking Instructions: boil the rice in the jasmin tea in a large pot for ab. 40 minutes. In a non-stick pan, sautee the chicken breat, cut into cubes, in olive oil. Chop the celery, and after cleaning the melon, make melon balls. Once the rice has cooked, drain it, let it cool, and then add the chicken, celery, and melon. Dress the mixture with oil, salt and pepper. Once it has all been equally mixed together, garnish it with the mint leaves.
Rice salad with melon and ham
Ingredients (makes 4 servings): 300 g ribe brown rice, 3 tables spoons of chives, 400 g melon, 100g pecorino curd cheese, 200 g cooked ham, extra virgin olive oil, salt
Cooking Instructions: boil the rice in a large pot of water for 40 minutes. In the meantime, cut the melon and cooked ham into cubes. Chop the chives and cut the pecorino cheese into cubes. Once the rice is cooked, drain it and soak it in salted cold water to stop the cooking and keep it “al dente” or chewy. In a bowl, mix the melon, cooked ham, chives, and finally the “al dente” rice. Mix well and then add the pecorino cheese. Finally dress it with fresh, extra virgin olive oil and serve.
Rice soup with leeks and potatoes
Ingredients (makes 4 servings): 200 g ribe brown rice, 1 and ½ liters vegetable broth, 20 g butter, 400 g potatoes, 450 g leeks, parmesan cheese, 2 shallots, salt and pepper
Cooking Instructions: wash the potatoes, peel them and cut them into pieces. Wash the leeks, and cut them into rings. Thoroughly wash the rice. Melt the butter in a pot, add the chopped shallots and parsely and sautee them. Then add the rice, leeks, and potatoes, allowing them to simmer together for a few minutes and combine their flavors. Add salt and pepper. Pour in all of the vegetable broth and cook the soup for ab. 40 minutes, until the leeks become completely softened and the potatoes become soft. Add salt and serve the soup hot, garnished with chopped parsely and grated parmesan cheese on top.
Rice and legumes soup
Ingredients (makes 4 servings): 250 g ribe brown rice, 100 g hulled peas, 100 g hulled chickpeas, 100 g small lentils, a carrot, a potato, celery, onion, cardamon, a chili pepper, extra virgin olive oil, rosemary, a bay leaf
Cooking Instructions: wash, peel, and cut the carrot, celery, onion, and potatoe. Wash the lentils, chick peas, and peas, and thoroughly wash the rice. Sautee the herbs and the chili pepper in a cooking pot, and when you can clearly smell their aroma, add a liter and a half of water, followed by the legumes, rosemary, bay leaf and cardamon. Put the heat on high to boil. When it begins boiling, turn down the heat to medium and add the rice. Add salt to taste as it finishes cooking. Take the pot from the flame and let it sit for 15 minutes. Serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Rice salad with grilled vegetables
Ingredients (makes 4 servings): 300 g ribe brown rice, 1 fennel, 2 red sweet peppers and 2 yellow sweet peppers, 12 asparagus, 1 bunch of fresh onions, 2 eggplants, 2 leeks, 4 thyme branches, 4 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt.
Cooking Instructions: boil the rice in a large pot of salted water, drain it and let it cool. Clean the peppers, leeks, asparagus, eggplants and spring onions. Wash and thinly slice the fennel. Grill all of the vegetables, calculating about 40 minutes for the sweet peppers and the eggplants, 25 minutes for the leeks and spring onions, 15-20 minutes for the asapagus and fennel. Peel the skin from the peppers and cut it into small pieces. Take off the skin of the eggplant and cut it into cubes. Take off the outer, burned layer of the leeks and spring onions and chop them into pieces. Cut the asparagus into 2-3 pieces. Marinade the vegetables in the vinegar, thyme, oil and salt for 30 minutes. At the time of serving, combine the grilled vegetables, that have since been drained from the vinegar, with the rice and mix well.
Chilled peach rice
Ingredients (makes 4 servings): 250 g ribe rice, 2 yellow peaches, 150 g shelled fave beans, 200 g zucchinis, 8 zucchini flowers, 150 g fresh pecorino cheese, ½ of a spring onion, 1 bunch of thyme, 1 bunch of marjoram, 1 limes, extra virgin olive oil, hot chili pepper, salt
Cooking Instructions: boil the rice, drain it while it is still chewy and let it chill. Wash the peaches, cut out the pit, and cut them into thin slices. Boil the fave beans in salted water, drain them and shell them, taking out the internal seed only. Cut the zucchini into cubes. Thinly slice the zucchini flowers into pieces, after washing and drying them. Cut the pecorino into thin slices. Put all of the ingredients into a bowl: fave beans, zucchinis, zucchini flowers, cheese, peaches, and chilled rice. Chop the thyme and marjoram leaves. Wash and finely chop the spring onion. In another bowl, mix the finely chopped herbs and the spring onion, along with a dash of salt and flaked hot chili peppers, lime juice and 2 tablespoons of lemon zest. Mix everything very well. Pour the dressing on top of the rice mix an stir well so that all of the flavors mix.
Pear and walnut risotto
Ingredients (makes 4 servings): 350 g carnaroli rice, 400 g mature pears (of the Kaiser variety), 100 g of shelled walnuts, 1 liter vegetable broth, 1 lemon, ¼ onion, 50 g butter, 100 ml white wine, white pepper, grated parmesan cheese
Cooking Instructions: wash the lemon, squeeze it and keep the peel to make zest. Peel the pears, cut them in quarters, remove the core and seeds, and put them in a dish, covered with the lemon juice and the zest from ½ of the lemon. Chop up the walnuts, keeping 4 whole nuts on the side. In a pan, melt the butter and the whole onion – removing it from the pan as soon as it is browned. Add the rice and toast it in the butter, followed by the white wine. Graduallly start to add the vegetable broth, a bit at a time. When the rice has finished cooking, add the pears, that have been drained from their lemon juice. Remove the pan from the heat and butter the rice with the remaining butter, adding the chopped walnuts and a dash of ground pepper. Prepare the plates garnishing them with a whole walnut and the grated parmesan cheese. Another variation: at the end of the cooking process, instead of using the remaining butter to cream the rice, use gorgonzola cheese.
Radicchio and scamorza cheese risotto
Ingredients (makes 4 servings): 320 g carnaroli rice, 200 g smoked scamorza cheese, 1 liter vegetable broth, 400 g radicchio, 1 clove of garlic, extra virgin olive oil, 100 ml white wine, rock salt
Cooking Instructions: wash and cut the radicchio in big pieces. Toss it into a pan with a bit of oil. Add a bit of rock salt and sautee it for a few minutes. Cut the scamorza cheese in cubes. In a pan, sautee the garlic, and once browned, remove it. Put in the rice, toasting it in the oil and then adding some white wine. When the wine has evaporated, cook the risotto by gradually adding the broth, a bit at a time. Half-way through the cooking process, add the radicchio, and at the end, add the scamorza cheese. Put the risotto on a warmed serving dish and serve.
Ingredients (makes 4 servings): 320 g carnaroli rice, 300 g mature strawberries, ½ onion, 1 dl white wine, 1 liter vegetable broth, 30 g butter, grated parmesan cheese, extra virgin olive oil
Cooking Instructions: wash and dry the strawberries and then cut them into pieces and soak them in a bit of white wine. Peel the onion and chop it finely. Sautee the onion in a pan with a bit of oil, without browning it too much. Add the rice, toast it and add some white wine to the sautee. When the wine has evaporated, start to add the vegetable broth gradually, a bit at a time. Squish the strawberries and when the rice is almost finished cooking, mix them into the risotto. Take the risotto from the heat while the rice is still chewy and butter it with pieces of butter. Pour the risotto into a serving dish and garnish with grated parmesan cheese
Yellow risotto with asparagus tips
Ingredients (makes 4 servings): 320 g carnaroli rice, 250 g asparagus, 40 g butter, ½ onion, 100 ml white wine, 1 packet of saffron, grated parmesan cheese
Cooking Instructions: wash the asparagus and cut them into discs. Leave the heads intact and put them aside. Sautee the chopped onion in a pan with 20 grams of butter and then add the asparagus, cooking them for 2 minutes. Then add the rice and toast it. Add the white whine, and when it has evaporated, cook the rest of the risotto by gradually adding the broth, a bit at a time. Dissolve the packet of saffron in a bit of broth, along with the asparagus heads and towards the end of the cooking process,add this to the risotto. Butter the finished risotto and add grated parmesan cheese. Serve hot.
Ingredients (makes 4 servings): 300 g aromatic long rice, 1 onion, ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, 125 g cooked ham, cut into cubes, 200 g hulled peas, 3 eggs, salt and pepper, 1 tablespoon soy sauce
Cooking Instructions: boil the peas in a pot for around 50 minutes. Wash the rice in cold water and then boil the rice in a large pot of salted water. Finely chop the onion and divide it in two parts. Break the eggs in a bowl and add some salt and half of the chopped onions, then heat up 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan and scramble well the egg mixture. Put it in a separate bowl. When the rice is still a bit hard, drain it and toss it in a pan with 2 spoons of oil, the other half of the chopped onion, and the soy sauce, separating the rice so it doesn’t stick together. In another pan, sautee the cubed ham and the pease with a bit of oil and salt. At this point, mix all of the ingredients together in this pan, reheating it all on a low flame for a few seconds and then serve.
Ingredients (makes 4 servings): 2 cups of aromatic long rice, 4 cups vegetable broth, oil, your preferred spices
Cooking Instructions: wash the rice well. Heat a pan with some oil. When the oil is hot, add the rice and toast it for a few minutes. Then add the broth, and eventually the spices. Stiri t 3-4 times with a wooden spoon so that the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Lower the heat and cover the mixture with a lid. Let it cook for 10-12 minutes – until there isn’t any excess water left – and remove from the burner. Let it sit for about 10 minutes. Break up the rice with a fork and serve on a serving dish. Note: Rice prepared in this way, can accompany any dish, be it meat-, fish-, or vegetable-based.
Rice with Sausages
Ingredients (makes 4 servings): 320 g aromatic long rice, 80 g butter, 100 g grated parmesan cheese, 300 g sausages, rosemary, salt
Cooking Instructions: boil the rice in a pot with salted water. Cook it for about 10-12 minutes without being covered by a lid, so that it absorbs all of the excess water. Take the rice from the burner, cover it with a lit and let it sit for 10 minutes. In the meantime, melt the butter in a pan and add the rosemary and the sausages, that have been peeled and broken up with a fork. Sautee them on medium heat for a few minutes.
With a fork, fluff the rice and dress it with the sausage and half of the parmesan cheese and mix. Serve the rice on the plates, garnished with the remaining parmesan cheese.
Ingredients (makes 4 servings): 250 g aromatic long rice, 200 g hulled red lentils, 3 white onions, 3 pieces of butter, salt, cumin
Cooking Instructions: wash the rise, drain it and let it dry over a dishcloth. Cut the onions and sautee them over a medium flame with some butter, until they become soft and colored. Boil the lentils in 1 and a ½ liters of water for about 10 minutes, from the moment it begins to boil.
Afterwhich, add the rice, the onion, and the salt, stir well and cover the pan. Cook it for about 20 minutes, making sure that it doesn’t dry out. If it starts to dry out, simply add water. Turn off the heat and add a little cumin powder to rice and lentil puree.
Chilled eggplant rice
Ingredients (makes 4 servings): 250 g aromatic long rice, 1 eggplant, ¼ yellow sweet pepper, 1 clove of onion, 1 bunch of parsely, 1 branch of thyme, 1 bay leave, 1 hot chili pepper, 40 ml white wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper
Cooking Instructions: peel the eggplant, cut it into slices, season it with salt and let the water drain out of it in a colander. Meanwhile, boil the vinegar with 300 ml of water, a little oil, some pepper kernels, the bay leaf, and the chopped hot chili pepper. Add the eggplant, letting them cook for about 4 minutes from it starts boiling. Drain the eggplant, let it cool and chop them with the two-handled chopping knife. Put the chopped eggplant into a bowl, seasoned with chopped garlic, thyme, parsley and olive oil, and let it marinate for about 2 hours. Boil the rice in a pot with salted water, drain it while it is still a bit hard, or “al dente”, soaking it in plenty of cold salted water to stop the cooking. Then put the rice in the the bowl with the marinated eggplant, the sweet pepper – cut in cubes, and the hot chili pepper – cut in small rings.
Rice Salad with Mint and Basil Pesto
Ingredients (makes 4 servings): 320 g aromatic long rice, 120 g tuna in olive oil, 1 egg, extra virgin olive oil, 2-3 branches of mint, 20 g capers, 90 g blanched almonds, 2-3 stems of basil, 80 gs grated parmesan cheese, 1 piece of garlic, salt and pepper
Cooking Instructions: to prepare the pesto, blend the herbs with the garlic, almonds, salt, pepper and oil. Then add the the grated Parmesan cheese and mix. Boil the rice, drain it, and rinse it under cold water to stop it cooking,. Then dress it in a bowl with 2 spoons of oil and the capers. Prepare a boiled egg, let it cool, peel it and cut it into wedges. Season the rice with mint and basil pesto, arrange on a serving platter, topping it with the tuna and the egg wedges.
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