Food of the soul, between rice and works of art – Italian Cuisine

Food of the soul, between rice and works of art

Bread or rice? What is the food that represents Nutrition par excellence? For Bottura it is bread, for Carlo Benvenuto, artist, it is rice. Here is the recipe he gave us

In the July issue we talked to Carlo Benvenuto of his Metaphysical Bread, the work he created in 2015 for the Ambrosian refectory. With that image, the artist wanted to express a very universal idea, for a work that was to adorn the wall of a refectory, with all the references – sacred and profane – that the operation contained.

During the processing of the July issue, just on the occasion of the story you find on p. 90, Massimo Bottura asked Benvenuto what was his recipe for "universal nourishment": We wanted to combine the image of his work of art with the recipe for his favorite bread. Welcome, though, he replied with a rice in Cagnone a little revisited. "Of course, I recognize that bread is a more shared symbol, but faced with such a question, I wanted to be faithful to my family history," explained the artist. "For us, bread has always been a service food, while rice is what most brings me back to the values ​​of sharing and nourishment".

Here she is recipe he sent us, in which "the simplicity of English rice is made unique and special by butter which is flavored with sage for one part and the other is left raw as in the risotto creaming, complete the Parmesan and a base of roasted chicken which restores the richness and flavor in concentration, which in traditional risotto is given by the broth ".

Our advice? Prepare the roast chicken second, so you will have a whole menu, to be completed with a salad and a dessert (you can find it on our issue on newsstands). And you can prepare the bottom to flavor the rice.

Double butter rice from Lake Maggiore

Ingredients for 4 people

320 g of risotto rice
80 g of butter
6-8 sage leaves
abundant grated Parmesan
salt – bottom of the roast chicken


Boil the rice in abundant salted water. In a saucepan, melt half the butter by browning the sage. Once browned, turn off the heat. Set aside a couple of ladles of rice cooking water, add some to the butter and mix. Reserve the sage leaves. When the rice is cooked but still very al dente, pour it into the saucepan, where there is the butter with the sage, under which you will have rekindled the fire. Stir and add the cooking water until cooking is complete. Turn off the heat and stir in the remaining cold butter and Parmesan.

For the chicken bottom

Take the pan where you prepared the roast chicken, deglaze it on the flame with a little boiling water, pour the sauce into a sauce boat filtering it with a chinoise or cone strainer.

To serve

Reheat the dishes (pass them under boiling water, then dry them). Place the rice on the plates and add the sage leaves. Sprinkle with the chicken sauce or serve the sauce separately.

Carlo Benvenuto on display at Mart

Anyone wishing to find out more about Carlo Benvenuto can do so by visiting the exhibition “Carlo Benvenuto. The original", Which inaugurated the reopening of the Mart after the lockdown. A restart that exposes around 60 works by the artist, created from the nineties to today, put in dialogue with three masterpieces by De Chirico, Morandi and Guttuso, from the Mart collections. In the exhibited works one finds the metaphysics of everyday life that also characterizes the metaphysical Bread of the Refectory Ambrosiano: in them, objects of everyday life are portrayed with great fidelity but, surprisingly, they are almost abstract, universal.

From June 26 to October 18 2020
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