I was an atypical child. The other kids would come home from school and happily eat their milk and cookies, but I hated milk and didn’t care much for sweets. My idea of an after-school snack was a bowl of rice mixed with lots of butter and cheese. I would make it myself and happily sit down to watch TV. That dish—which I thought I had invented—launched my culinary career.
Well, as it turns out, I didn’t invent the dish. Rice with butter and cheese, called riso in cagnone, is a rustic dish from northern Italy. There are two versions of the dish. One is from Lombardy, where rice in boiled in salted water, then topped with butter browned with garlic and sage, along with generous dusting of grated Parmesan or grana padano. The other, which we are featuring today, is from Piemonte, where the boiled rice is vigorously stirred with a local semi-hard cheese and melted butter. While not a proper risotto, this finishing mantecatura gives this version of riso in cagnone a similar creamy deliciousness.
- 100g (3-1/2 oz) rice
- 50g (2 oz) Alpine-type cheese (see Notes)
- 25g (2 Tbs) butter
- Salt, for the water