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Italian Rice Salad with Cranberry Beans

Serves 4-6

Traditionally used for risotto, arborio rice also makes a splendid underpinning for a main course salad when combined with beans, olive oil, lemon and other savory accoutrements. Use best-quality pure (chemical-free) rice that is fresh and aromatic with a firm, chewy texture.

  • 3/4 cup dried cranberry beans (or 1 1/2 cup canned pinto beans, drained and rinsed)
  • 2 cups Campanini Arborio or Carnaroli rice
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, such as Badia a Coltibuono
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup capers, drained
  • 1/3 cup sundried tomatoes (in oil), drained and chopped
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • Fresh-ground black pepper
  1. If using dried beans, sort beans and soak overnight in bowl using 3 times as much water as beans. The next morning rinse beans with cold water. Put beans in saucepan, cover with two inches of water and bring to a slow boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until tender (35 to 45 minutes).
  2. Wash rice thoroughly. In pot, place 2 tbsp. olive oil over medium heat; add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft. Add rice and stir, until the grains become opaque (3 minutes). Add 3 cups water, salt and stir gently until liquid comes to a boil. Cover tightly, lower heat and cook for 15 minutes until all the water has evaporated. Remove from heat and let stand for 15 minutes.
  3. Turn rice out into large bowl to help it cool, gently breaking up any lumps. Add lemon juice and toss lightly to mix. Add capers, tomatoes, parsley, beans, olive oil, and pepper and gently toss. Serve at room temperature.

Recipe by: Allison Boomer