Rice cooked in a broth with fennel and pumpkin.
This is a recipe from my friend Adele, born and raised in the rice-producing area of the Po valley near Milan. It was the Cistercian monks, who started growing it there in the 15th century, battling famine that was devastating Europe at the time. Many were skeptical that a plant which grew in water and had been brought from the Far East by traveling Venetian merchants, could be much of a remedy. In the end, the monks' foresight proved a blessing for the region's prosperity.