Rice pudding from 16th century Italy

Bartolomeo Scappi, Opera dell’arte del cucinare.  Presentazione di Giancarlo Roversi.  Arnaldo Forni Editore. Testi Antichi di Gastronomia, ristampa 1981.

Per far minestra di riso con latte di mandole o con oglio.  Cap CCXXI, Terzo libro, folio 150
Piglisis il riso di Lombardia o di Salerno, nettisi, & lavisi con acqua tepida, & accioche rimanga piu bianco, & si cuoca piu presto facciasi stare in molle nell’acqua tepida per un’hora.  Cavisi, & lascisi asciugare al Sole, o al calor del foco lontan dalla fiamma, accioche non divenga rosso, & pongasi nel foco in un vaso di terra o di rame con tant acqua che stia coperto, & come haverà sorbito l’acqua, pongasi il latte di mandole con zucaro fino in piu volte, & facciasi finir di cocere di modo che resti sodo, & come sarà cotto, servasi con zuccaro & canella sopra.  Si potrà ancho alle volte servire per ginestrata, havendolo passatao per lo setaccio con piu zuccaro, & cannello pesta, & zafferano, & facendolo ricuocere con un poco di acqua di rose, & malvagia, ma volendolo con oglio, non occurre altro che metterlo nella pignata con oglio, acqua, sale, & zafferano, & nell’ultimo giungervi un poco di herbette, o cipollette soffritte, & in tutti i modi vuole esser servita calda la minestra.

To make a dish of rice with almond milk or with oil. Chapter 221, third book, page 150.
Take rice from Lombard or Salerno, clean and wash with warm water, in order that it stays more white, and it cooks faster let is soak in warm water for an hour.  Pour it out and let it dry in to the sun or in the heat of a fire a long way from the flame in order that it does not become red (toast), and put it on the fire in a pot of ceramic or copper with enough water that it is covered.  And when it has absorbed all the water add to it almond milk with fine sugar many times (enough to cover?) and let it finish cooking in such a way that it remains firm.  And when it is cooked serve with sugar and cinnamon above.  On e can also at the same time serve like a “ginestrata”, having passed it through a sieve with more sugar and ground cinnamon and saffron, and recook it with a little rose water and madira wine.  But if you want it with oil, don’t do that but put in the pan with oil, water, salt and saffron and at the end add a little chopped herbs or chopped onion that have been fried.  And in all these ways this dish is prepared it should be served hot.

Redaction
Ingredients
3 oz risotto rice
6 oz almonds
1 oz sugar + extra for dusting
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
Method
Wash the rice in warm water and then cover it with warm water in a bowl and leave to soak for an hour.  Drain the rice, lay it on a baking sheet and dry in a warm (200 F) oven for 30 minutes.  Do not allow to scorch.  Place the rice in a heavy bottomed pan and add sufficient water to just cover the rice, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until all the water has been adsorbed.  Meanwhile, peel the almonds and grind with 3 cups of boiling water.  Strain the resulting liquid, keeping the almond milk and discarding the grinds.  Once the rice has absorbed all the water add the almond milk and sugar to the pan, stir carefully and allow to simmer until the rice grains are tender but still whole (another 30 or so minutes).  Serve warm dusted with extra sugar and cinnamon.

Copyright Helewyse de Birkestad July, 2003.
Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited and receives a copy.
Email me at helewyse@yahoo.com