This dish can takes a little time to assemble, but it's well worth the effort. Typically, I have made this with a ground veal, onion and tomato filling. But, since we're eating a mostly vegetarian diet these days, I had to come up with a new filling. . .spinach, ricotta and tomato basil sauce!
Here's what you'll need for today's recipe:
1.5 cups arborio rice
3/4 cup mozzarella cheese
1 cup freshly shredded rosemary asiago (or Parmesan or provolone if you would prefer one of those)
1 cup Tomato Basil Sauce (or about half of recipe)
3 cups fresh spinach
Start by bringing a pot of water to boil. Add the the rice, cover and turn down the heat. Cook for 12 minutes. Pour the rice into a strainer, then spread on a cookie sheet to dry. Set aside.
This timbale has three distinct pieces, the rice shell (pictured going forward in the bowl to the right), the cheese layer, that is used to keep the mold in tact (pictured in the middle), and the filling (pictured to the left).
Let's start with the middle bowl since it's the easiest, grate the asiago cheese. The middle bowl is now done until we need to assemble.
Now, let's talk about the rice bowl on the right. Start with your eggs, whisk together and add your mozzarella cheese. Once combine, add your rice as so. . .
Stir the rice into the egg mixture to combine. This bowl is not done and ready for assembly. Two down, one to go.
In the third bowl, start with your ricotta, add the chopped spinach (if you use frozen, make sure it's drained). Be careful not to add too much, if the filling has too much liquid your shape will not hold.
(Sorry, I didn't get a picture after I added the sauce to the spinach and ricotta.)
Now, take your spring form pan, butter or oil the sides and bottom.
Sprinkle breadcrumbs on the pan and shake until they're evenly spread around the bottom and sides.
Next, spread 3/4 of the rice mixture on the bottom and sides. Press it down to make it fairly solid. spread most of the asiago cheese to form a barrier between the rice and the next layer (reserving some for the top).
Add the spinach mixture, and top with the remaining rice mixture, sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Bake in oven for 20 minutes at 450 degrees.
Now is a good time to wash those dishes. . .
And now you should have something that looks like this. . .
Take let it rest for 5 minutes or so, then take a knife and run along the sides of the spring form pan. Take off the sides, and you get this. . .
Slice and enjoy.