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Panissa Vercelli: the original recipe of the first course of Piedmont


The traditional recipe of the Piedmontese panissa is that of an easy first course, made with typical ingredients: rice, beans, salamino della duja and little else.

Panissa Vercelli is a delicious first course, whose name changes according to the province in which it is prepared. Whichever way you identify it, this is a typical product of Piedmont, linked to an ancient tradition. Before presenting it, it should be noted that this recipe should not be confused with the Ligurian preparation of the same name. The one originally from Vercelli is a rice -based first course. The sauce is particular and enriched with local products, such as beans . Furthermore, the duja salami (basically the one under fat) cannot be missing. The latter is a particular sausage, which is left to mature in terracotta jars, filled with lard, and which enriches the whole dish with flavour.


Preparation of the recipe for the panissa

  1. First, prepare the broth. In a saucepan, pour the water, half an onion, a stick of celery, a bay leaf, 4 grains of black pepper and 1 carrot.
  2. Complete with the beans, the pork rind (you can omit it if you prefer) and the coarse salt, for seasoning. Bring the liquid to a boil.
  3. Simmer everything for 1 hour .
  4. When cooked, filter the broth, eliminating the vegetables, the beans (which you must set aside) and the rind. Set it aside in the heat.
  5. Coat the bottom of a pan with oil. Chop the remaining onion and pour it inside.
  6. Sauté , adding the beaten lard.
  7. Once done, add the cooked beans. Also add the rice and toast it.
  8. Shade everything with red wine. Continue cooking for the time required for the rice, adding the broth (previously prepared), a little at a time .
  9. Halfway through cooking (about 8 minutes), cut the duja salami into pieces and add it to the rice.
  10. Once cooked, distribute on plates and flavor with chopped parsley.

The real name of the panissa and how to taste it

Originally from the Vercelli area, this first course is also called Piedmontese paniccia. The traditional preparation has spread to other nearby provinces, but with different names and some modifications in the recipe. In Alta Lomellina and Novarese it is known as paniscia and prepared with other vegetables, such as cabbage and savoy cabbage . The same denomination is used in some areas of Lombardy. In the provinces of Lodi and Pavia, the use of beans is not foreseen, but grated Grana Padano is added.

Another curiosity is linked to the real Panissa recipe. Traditionally, after serving the dish at the table, a pit was created in the center of the rice, to pour more wine and give even more flavor to the preparation. The product must be red and full-bodied, such as Nebbiolo or Barbera (also used as a wine pairing with Panissa Vercelli). However, this custom is slowly disappearing among the provinces concerned. The habit that has not been lost, however, is to flavor the dish with grated cheese.


Once ready, the Vercelli panissa can be kept in the fridge , closed in an airtight container, for 2 days . You can warm it up if needed.

Alternatively, for a delicious first course we also recommend risotto al Barolo .

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