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Risotto, Soup and Salads with Rice

One thing I really love as a food blogger is the opportunity I have every once in a while to try different products and new products.  I was recently asked would I like to try some products from the people at Riso Gallo.   

Riso Gallo is one of the oldest rice-growing companies in Italy. They began in 1856 with a factory in Genoa which processed imported Paddy rice.At the same time, another factory was opened in Argentina to meet the requirements of the South American market. 

Its success and increasing experience in the field encouraged the company to concentrate on Italian crops, and so in 1926 the Genoa factory was transferred to Robbio Lomellina in the heart of the province of Pavia, one of the most well known rice-growing regions. 

Since illiteracy was still widespread in Argentina, the company decided to identify the different varieties of rice by using images of animals. A giraffe, a tiger, an eagle, an elephant and a cockerel appeared on all the sacks of rice. The cockerel, which identified the best variety, soon became the company symbol and synonymous with the high quality of its products. At the same time, the company began to sell rice in retail packets. 

Making Italians happy now for six generations, Riso Gallo’s mission is to spread the culture of rice and risotto throughout the world by using innovation that constantly adapts to the needs of the modern consumer. They strive to achieve total customer satisfaction, and  constantly analyse and identify their consumers’ needs in order to do this, relying on their experience.  They work with specialised research centres to develop the finest varieties of rice that satisfy the market demand for high-quality, genuine, tasty products that are quick and easy to prepare. In the 1940s, an intuitive hunch marked a new chapter in the history of the company and the cockerel symbol, which we see today,  was created. 

Risotto is one of the dishes that is the most representative worldwide of the flavour and creativity that mark Italian cuisine. I was sent a package of their popular traditional Gran Gallo Risotto rice. This rice originates from selected rice farms, using traditional stone husking, whitening machines that allow for a more gentle abrasion of the grain, creating creamy risottos that are always perfectly al dente. 

First I tried it in an oven baked risotto dish of Chicken and Broccoli.  I like oven baked risottos because they basically cook themselves. There is no standing over a hot stove, measuring in liquid, stirring, etc.  Yes, a bit of a cheat, but so delicious. 

This one is today is very colourful and very tasty. Creamy,rich and just stogged full of tasty bits of chicken and crunchy green bits of broccoli. Of course you don't have to use broccoli if you don't want to . You can choose to use another green vegetable such as asparagus, or green beans or even peas. All are equally as delicious! (Not to mention easy!)

I also have a fantastic recipe for a delicious Baked Risotto with Courgettes, Tomatoes and Parmesan Here. And I have another delicious recipe for a Meatball Risotto Soup Here. Both delicious, both easy, both very popular!

Yield: 4

Oven Baked Chicken and Tender Stem Broccoli Risotto

The best thing about this dish is that it practically cooks itself.  You can sit back and enjoy a drink while it is baking.  It's also really quick!


  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 500g (1lb 2 oz) boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 250g (9 ounces) risotto rice
  • 750ml (3 cups) chicken stock
  • 1 bunch of tender stem broccoli, trimmed and cut on the diagonal into 1 inch pieces
  • 35g (1/3 cup) grated Parmesan Cheese, plus extra to serve
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4. Heat 1 TBS of the olive oil in a large flameproof casserole over high heat. Add the chicken pieces and cook, stirring frequently until golden brown. Remove from the casserole and set aside.
  2. Add the remaining olive oil and the onion to the dish. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened. Add the garlic and lemon zest and cook for about 30 seconds longer. Add the rice and stir to coat evenly with the oil. Add the stock and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. Cover the casserole and bake in the heated oven for 15 minutes. Stir in the chicken and the broccoli and recover. Bake for an additional 5 minutes until the broccoli is bright green and just tender. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, season with salt and black pepper, and serve. Have extra Parmesan ready to spoon over individual servings. Delicious!
  3. Note: If you don't really like broccoli, you can substitute it with an equal amount of asparagus.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Risotto doesn't always have to be a savoury dish.  It can just as easily be a sweet and delicious type of  pudding.  Something like this Vanilla Risotto.  People can be a little put off and afraid of making risotto . . . fearing that it is a bit too complicate or time consuming, but it really isn't.  Risotto does require constant attention however, but so long as you stay with it, and do what the recipe says, you will always be rewarded at the end with something quite silky and delicious, with just a tiny bit of bite . . .  al dente . . . which is as it should be.

This risotto is not overly sweet . . . the only sweetening being a bit of honey . . . it's nicely flavoured with vanilla . . . and just a hint of ground cinnamon and ground cardamom.  Warm sweet spices that go so well with both vanilla and pears . . .

Vanilla Risotto

A deliciously simple vanilla dessert risotto, sweetened with honey and served with oven roasted fresh pears.


  • 1 tsp Vanilla paste
  • (Alternately use 1/2 a vanilla pod)
  • 500 ml of full fat milk (a generous 2 cups)
  • 100ml single cream (scant 1/2 cup)
  • 1 1/2 TBS unsalted butter
  • 175g of risotto rice (scant 3/4 cup)
  • 2 TBS Orange Liqueur (Grands Marnier or Cointreau)
  • 4 TBS liquid honey
  • pinch ground cardamon
  • pinch ground cinnamon
  • 4 firm medium sized pears
  • (You may need a bit of additional milk)
  • a drizzle of warm honey and a dusting of cinnamon to finish


  1. Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6. Place the pears into a baking dish and roast until they are tender without being mushy. This will take about 20 minutes.
  2. While the pears are roasting put the vanilla into a saucepan along with the milk and the cream. Heat just to the boil. Take off the heat immediately. Set aside.
  3. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Once it begins to foam add the rice. Cook, stirring to toast the rice for several minutes. Add the Orange Liqueur. Let the rice absorb it. Begin to add the heated milk/cream mixture, a small ladle full at a time, allowing the rice to absorb most of the milk before adding another ladle full until most of the milk is absorbed and the rice is slightly al dente with a creamy sauce. (You may need additional milk) This will take about 25 minutes. Add the honey into it towards the end of the cooking time, along with a pinch each of cardamon and cinnamon. Taste and adjust as necessary, adding additional honey if need be.
  4. Peel your pears and place one into each of four dessert dishes. Spoon the risotto around the pears. Drizzle with some warm honey and dust with a bit of cinnamon. Serve immediately.
Created using The Recipes Generator  

I was also sent  a selection of the new Gallo Nature Micro Pouches to try. The range combines aromatic and healthy whole grains, in a convenient format without sacrificing quality. Each 200g pouch cooks in 90 seconds in the microwave, aimed at inspiring adventurous cooks.  They are ideal cold in salads, or hot as a side dish or snack, and are now available in Waitrose!   

Rice, Wheat & Buckwheat -  containing three delicious grains, this is a very quick and easy way to get some delicious fibre into your diet.  You simply tear a small opening into the pouch and then heat in the microwave for 90 seconds. 

Wheat, Buckwheat & White Rice Soup  

Included was a delicious soup recipe from Chef Danillo Cortillini that you could use this particular pouch of rice in. I am a person who loves to take something like these rice pouches and make something new so this was right up my alley!  And of course with all the wind and rain we've been having soup was more than welcome on our menu!

Yield: 4

Wheat, Buckwheat & White Rice Soup with Savoy Cabbage & Pecorino

prep time: cook time: total time:
To prepare the soup base will only take 10 to 15 minutes. If you want, you can prepare this step in advance and keep it in the fridge.  For the Vegan option avoid the cheese on top.


  • 200g of Riso Gallo rice, wheat and buckwheat (1 pouch)
  • 1 small savoy cabbage
  • 1 small bunch sage
  • 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small white onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
  • 40 grated Pecorino cheese (1/4 cup), or a mild cheddar (1/3 cup)
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Chop the cabbage into rough cubes and rinse well under cold running water. Keep the hard stalks and core to be used in a stock. 
  2. "Sweat" the chopped onion and garlic in a medium saucepan with the olive oil and a pinch of salt until golden. add a couple of leaves of sage to enhance the flavour.
  3. Add the chopped cabbage and season to taste. Let it cook on medium heat for a couple of minutes, remove the sage leaves and pour in a couple of glasses of hot water, just enough to cover the cabbage.
  4. Let it simmer for about 5 minutes until the cabbage is cooked and soft.
  5. Cook the rice, wheat and buckwheat by placing the pouch in the microwave. Tear open the bag a little and heat on high for just 90 seconds.  Once ready, pour everything into the simmering soup.
  6. Let the grains soak the flavours of the soup for 1 minutes and serve straight away.  Finish off with a few little sage leaves and abundant grated Pecorino Cheese.


Recipe by Danilo Cortellini
Created using The Recipes Generator 

Gallo Nature Red Wholegrain & Long Grain Rice -  a tasty mix of cooked long grain and red wholegrain rices.

Red Wholegrain and Long-grain Rice Salad   

Again I was given a delicious recipe from Chef Danillo Cortellini to use it in.  A very tasty salad which is not only colourful but filled with texture and flavour.

Yield: 4

Red Wholegrain & Long-grain Rice Salad, with charred radicchio, red radish, walnuts & pea shoots

If you want to cook this recipe and can't find radicchio, just go for a red chicory, and if pea shoots are not in season, you can substitute basil leaves in their place.  Chef's tip: Keep this recipe vegan for a one-course meal full of benefits. Add nuts and toasted pumpkin seeds for added texture and flavour.


  • 200g of Riso Gallo Red wholegrain and long grain rice, 1 pouch
  • 2 long red radicchio
  • 1 punnet of pea shoots to garnish
  • 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • 20g walnuts (scant 1/4 cup)
  • 10g toasted pumpkin seeds (1 TBS)
  • 16 small red radish
  • salt and black pepper to taste
For the Radicchio's Marinade
  • 100ml Balsamic vinegar (generous 1/3 cup)
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • a few thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp honey
  • pinch salt and black pepper


  1. First, prepare the marinade for the radicchio. Crush the garlic clove and mix all the ingredients well in a mixing bowl. Do not blend.
  2. Wash the radicchio and cut them in half lengthwise.  Brush well with the marinade on both sides and char them over a BBQ or a very hot non-stick pan.  Cook for 3 minutes per side until caramelised and remove from the heat.
  3. Using the same pan, quickly stir-fry the radishes. If you wish, add a little drop of the marinade to season instead of salt.
  4. Cook the rice by opening the pouch a little bit and placing in the microwave.  Cook on high for 90 seconds. Once ready put it in a mixing bowl and dress with a drizzle of oil, a pinch of salt and pepper, the walnuts, the radishes and the pumpkin seeds.
  5. Plate the salad into pasta bowls and top it with the charred radicchio halves and the pea shoots.  Drizzle on some extra balsamic vinegar and enjoy.


Recipe by Danilo Cortellini
Created using The Recipes Generator

Finally Gallo Vanere Black Whole Grain Micro Pouch - exactly what it says, Vanere Black whole grain rice.

Venere Rice Stuffed Avocados

And another delicious recipe by Danilo Cortellini!  This one for tasty stuffed avocados!  Mmmm, I adore avocados!

Yield: 4

Venere Rice Stuffed Avocados

prep time: cook time: total time:
Asparagus tops can make this recipe even more interesting, just wash and cut them in half. If raw they bring an amazing crunchiness.  This dish can also be prepared in advance.  For vegan option avoid the cheese in the pesto.


  • 200g Riso Gallo Venere rice, 1 pouch
  • 4 ripe avocados
  • fresh basil to garnish
  • 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • 20g almonds, skinned and chopped (1/4 cup)
  • 5 g toasted sesame seeds (1 tsp)
  • 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
For the Pesto
  • 25g Basil leaf, washed (couple handfuls)
  • 20g grated Grana Padano Cheese (1/4 cup)
  • 45ml extra virgin olive oil (3 TBS)
  • 12g of pine nuts (1/2 ounce)


  1. First make the pesto.  This is easy. Just put all of the ingredients into a blender or a jug , if you want to use a hand blender.  Blitz them together until you have a grainy paste.  Keep aside in a jar.  You can store this in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
  2. Cook the Venere rice by making a small opening in the pouch and placing it into the microwave.  Cook on high for 90 seconds.  When ready put it into a mixing bowl.
  3. Cut the avocados in half lengthwise and remove the pits.  With a small knife make a few incisions into the avocado pulp just to make it easier to eat them once stuffed.  If the cavities left by the pits are not wide enough for 2 spoons of rice, scoop out a bit with a spoon and put it into the bowl with the rice.  Dress the rice with a drop of lemon juice, a TBS of extra virgin olive oil and a spoonful of basil pesto. Add salt and pepper to taste along with some finely grated lemon zest.
  4. Stuff the avocado halves with 2 spoons of rice and serve on a wooden board. Sprinkle over the chopped almonds and the sesame seeds and garnish with some fresh basil leaves.


Recipe by Danilo Cortellini
Created using The Recipes Generator

I was really happy to try out this risotto rice and these new micro pouches.  The risotto rice is exemplary and I loved the variety of tastes and textures in these the micro pouches, along with the convenience and versatility of them as well as their ability to be used to make and create new dishes.  Plus they are the perfect size just for two people all on their own, but when combined with other ingredients make tasty meals for four, and also make for a very quick and easy side dish.

If you would like to know more about Riso Gallo and their products, do check out their homepage.  There is a wealth of information there plus more recipes, etc.

Facebook Page 

Many thanks to Riso Gallo for affording me the opportunity to try their products.

Note - Although I was sent these products free of charge, I was not obligated to write a positive review in exchange.

Marie Rayner
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  1. You do get a lot of fun things and IT IS SO WELL DESERVED!! Must be fun to be a taste tester..recipe developper:) You do it well!

    1. I love to try new products Monique, and then share my findings! xo


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