ITALIAN RICE & GRAINS RECIPESRice dishes are particularly popular in the north of Italy as the people in this area are very fond of risotto's. Milanese and other risotto's are made with short-grain Italian rice, the best of which is arborio rice. An Italian risotto is far moister than a pilau or other savoury rice dish, but it should not be soggy or sticky. Gnocchi are made with maize flour, cornmeal, potatoes or semolina, often combined with spinach or some sort of cheese. Gnocchi resemble dumplings and are either poached or baked. Polenta is made with cornmeal or polenta flour and can be served either as a soft porridge or a firmer cake which is then fried until crisp.