Riso alla pitocca – Lombard chicken and rice

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This simple rice dish from Lombardy is a celebration of chicken's wonderful flavour. At first glance it may look like a risotto, but the cooking method differs – resulting in a thicker, more filling texture that's wonderful for cold winter nights.

First published in 2018




Riso alla pitocca

  • 1 chicken, approx. 1kg
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1 celery, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 250g of Arborio risotto rice
  • 150g of white wine
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 knob of butter
  • Parmesan, grated
  • 1 handful of parsley, chopped

Chicken stock

  • 1 white onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 celery stick, roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, bashed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 black peppercorns, bashed


Begin by preparing the chicken. Remove the breasts, legs and wings and place the carcass in a large pan along with the wings, stock vegetables, bay leaves and peppercorns. Cover with water and bring to the boil, skimming off any scum that rises to the surface. Leave to simmer for at least 1 hour, periodically skimming away any more scum
Meanwhile, take the chicken legs and remove as much meat as you can from them, chopping into a rough dice, along with the breast meat. Add the leftover leg bones to the stock (but discard any skin)
In a separate pan, sauté the onion, celery and garlic in a splash of olive oil. Once starting to soften, add the diced chicken meat and cook until golden-brown. Season with salt and pepper
Add the rice and stir for 2–3 minutes until slightly toasted. Pour in the wine and simmer until reduced by half
Strain the stock and add 700ml to the pan (you can freeze the remaining stock to use in another dish). Simmer until the rice is cooked al dente, for around 12–15 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary
Turn off the heat, stir in the butter and Parmesan and set aside, covered, for 5 minutes
Serve with chopped parsley and extra grated Parmesan on top

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