Gioia is an authentic modern Italian cook.  She learned from her uncle Barone Sebastian Bonmartini Fini who created delicious meals beautifully paired with Barone Fini wines. Today, as a busy mother of three, Gioia’s modern take on Italian cooking focuses on seasonal ingredients.  She entertains often and loves hosting holiday gatherings for family and friends. She is excited to share her favorite recipes to pair with Barone Fini wines — because a meal with a lovely glass of wine, is always an opportunity to enjoy time together.

Rice Salad

Prep Time

25 minutes

Serving Size



  • 2 cups uncooked Arborio rice
  • 3 Small cucumbers or 1 large English cucumber peeled, seeded, diced
  • 4 celery stalks, diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, stem, fibrous interior, and seeds removed, diced
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, stem, fibrous interior, and seeds removed, diced
  • 1 ear fresh corn, slice off kernels
  • 3 hearts of palm (canned), diced
  • 4 spring onions, cleaned, roots removed, only white and light green parts sliced thin
  • 1/3 cup capers in vinegar (include the vinegar)
  • 3/4 cup small black olives, sliced in small dice
  • 1 medium fresh mozzarella ball, diced
  • 1/2 pound sliced cooked deli ham, diced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup high quality extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt to taste
  1. Place Arborio rice in cooking pot that has a matching lid that fits well. Rinse rice under cold running water, twirling the grains around with your hand until the water runs clear.  Drain water, add 2 cups cold water, place rice and water on medium heat and cook for 20 minutes from when water starts to boil.  Once cooking is done, leave on burner, remove top in order for rice to dry and cool.
  2. While rice is cooking, prep and chop all other ingredients. If making ahead (you can do this the day before), you can chop all the ingredients except for basil and parsley, store all vegetables in one container, mozzarella and ham separately.  Chop fresh herbs and toss in before serving.
  3. Once rice has cooled, toss all chopped ingredients in a large bowl, adding olive oil and salt to taste.  Rice salad can be refrigerated for a few hours or served immediately at room temperature.