RECIPE

Cheesy Rice Cake Stuffed with Herbs and Greens

A surprise filling of seasoned Swiss chard in found inside this delightful rice and cheese cake topped with a mix of breadcrumbs and cheese.

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons butter, plus some to grease pan and dot top of cake
  • 4 cups chicken stock (32 ounces)
  • 2 1/2 cups long grain white rice
  • 1 cup grated Grana Padano cheese or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, divided
  • Salt and freshly grated black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 3-4 baby fennel, or 1 bulb fennel, trimmed and chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 small handful golden raisins (optional)
  • 1/2 cup packed chopped fresh herbs (tarragon, thyme and parsley)
  • 1 large bunch Swiss chard, stemmed and chopped
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup homemade or panko breadcrumbs

Preparation

Pre-heat the oven to 375°F. Grease a 9-inch springform cake pan.

In a saucepot, bring the stock, rice, 1 cup water and butter to a boil. Stir, cover and cook for 16-17 minutes. Stir in three-quarters of the cheese and season with salt and pepper. Cool.

Pile half of the rice into the cake pan and mold across the bottom and up the sides of the pan.

Heat the EVOO in a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add the fennel, garlic, onion, raisins and some salt and pepper; cook to soften, 8-10 minutes. Add the herbs. Wilt in the chard and season with a little nutmeg, then deglaze the pan with the wine and cook to evaporate. When the greens have cooked down, remove them from the heat and fill the cake with the greens. Top the cake with the remaining rice and then with the breadcrumbs mixed with the remaining cheese. Dot the cake top with the butter and bake until golden, 25-30 minutes.

Serve warm or at room temperature, or chill and freeze for a make-ahead meal. Reheat, covered, in a moderate oven until heated through, then crisp up the top, uncovered.

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