I'm going to be right up front you - as you read this recipe you'll likely have the same reaction I did when it was first served to me, "Well, that's going to be weird!" I need you to trust me on this one. You're going to love it!
I had this insalata di riso, rice salad, on one of my early trips to Italy. My sister and I both opted out of taking spring breaks throughout college and instead went on an amazing one-month Italian adventure once we graduated. When we arrived at my Zio Raffaele's house in Peschiera, a town in northern Italy, my Zia Rosa served us insalata di riso for lunch. It was amazing! Light, fresh, and with a little surprise in every bite. No two spoonfuls taste the same! Later during the same trip, we arrived at my aunt's house in Grottaminarda, outside of Naples. My cousin's wife Rosanna, easily one of the top 5 cooks I know, also served us insalata di riso for lunch and we were so happy to be eating it again. It's now one of my favorite dishes and Rosanna makes it for me every time I visit Italy.
1 pound white long grain rice
2 plum tomatoes
4 ounces of Swiss, Monterey jack, or provolone cheese
2 beef hotdogs, uncooked
4 eggs, hard boiled
1 jar Berni condiriso
2 cans Italian tuna packed in oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup olive oil, extra virgin
Boil the rice according to the instructions on the box. I use the Italian Gallo rice if I have it, but any white long grain rice works. Once it's ready, strain the rice and add to a large bowl to cool. Cut the tomatoes, cheese, hotdogs, and hard boiled eggs into pieces/cubes and add to the cooled rice. They should all be about the same size.
Condiriso is a mix of pickled vegetables packed in oil (see the middle picture below for a close up) which can be found at Italian specialty stores or online by searching for Berni condiriso. Drain the condiriso, removing the excess oil, and add to the rice. Open the cans of tuna, drain, and add to the rice as well. I like to use Italian canned tuna which, again, can be found in Italian specialty stores. This can be substituted for one can of the tuna found in states; the cans of Italian tuna are tiny so it's about a 2-to-1 ratio.
Add the salt, pepper, and oil. Toss the rice with all the ingredients. Chill in the refrigerator and serve cold.