Ermes is an Italian variety of red rice: the Venere black rice was hybridised with the Indica rice, characterised by a long grain. As it is a wholegrain rice, the Ermes red rice has more of a bite than common white rice and it is particularly rich in fibers. Its dark red color is due to the anthocyanins contained in the external layer of the grains. The Ermes red rice is cultivated around Vercelli and Pavia, respectively in Piedmont and Lombardy, and also in Sardinia, near the city of Oristano.

We love to eat Ermes red rice in cold rice salads, sauteed with vegetables and fish, or even plain with just a drizzle of high quality olive oil. Today we decided to pair it to some bitter red chicory and piquant Pecorino cheese.

Serves: 2 | Preparation time: 15 mins | Cooking time: 40 mins

  • Radicchio – Red chicory, whole: about 250 g
  • Ermes red rice: 150 g
  • Pecorino, grated: 80 g
  • Vegetable broth: 1 l
  • Milk: 240 ml
  • Extra virgin olive oil – EVOO: 1 tbsp
  • Salt and pepper: to taste


Use a vegetable broth cube or follow this recipe to make your broth from scratch: Easy Every-Day Vegetable Broth

Bring the broth to a gentle simmer and keep it boiling for the whole time whilst cooking the rice.
Heat up the oil in a pan and toast the rice on medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring continuously. Pour in just enough broth to cover the rice, then add the remaining broth one ladle at a time, waiting for the broth in the pan to evaporate almost completely before adding more of it.

Tip: since Ermes is a wholegrain rice, it will take a bit longer (about 30 minutes) to cook through.

Whilst the rice is cooking, rinse the Radicchio under cold running water, then dry the leaves. Cut the leaves in long stripes and set them aside.
Heat up the milk in a pot, without bringing it to a boil. Add the pecorino to the milk a little at a time and mix well. As Pecorino melts, the milk should thicken up into a cream. Turn off the heat and leave it to cool at room temperature.

Once the rice is completely cooked, turn off the heat and add radicchio along with a couple of tablespoons of Pecorino cream. Stir well.
Make sure to pour a layer of Pecorino cream in the plate before presenting the rice to your guests.

Tip: If you can’t find Pecorino in your local cheese shop, or you rather go for some local produce, you can substitute it with goat’s cheese

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