Thanks to the abundance of rice paddies in the area called Bassa, rice spread first in the nobles’ tables and it later entered the peasants’ cuisine. In this case, since the recipe sees the use of pigeon meat – at the time a very expensive ingredient– we can look at Bomba di Riso (Rice bomb) as a nobles’ dish, born during the Renaissance between the XVI and the XVII century.

The traditional recipe is still respected today: the rice, cooked in the shape of a parfait, browned on low fire, was filled with cheese and pigeon meat, previously cooked in butter and spices. It is told that Elisabetta Farnese (1692 – 1766), Queen of Spain, was mad about it so much that his Prime Minister, Cardinal Giulio Alberoni – of Emilian origins – used to order Bomba di Riso every day, for he Queen’s banquets.

Despite the the fact that Bomba di Riso is more suited to cold Seasons, for its richness and consistency, tradition wants it to be eaten on August 15th, the day of the feast of Virgin Mary, when even poor people enjoyed this tasty course, although with a slight variation, typical of Reggio Emilia: the pigeon was replaced by a ragù made with mushrooms and beff or pork meat, much cheaper for them.

Thanks to: Chef Andrea Medici, Osteria in Scandiano