Vegetarian

Baked risotto cake

Main course: serves 6. Total time: 1 hour

Baked risotto is unusual in Italy because risotto needs to be eaten the moment it is cooked. However, it is sometimes used as a way of using up left-over risotto, layered with cheese and vegetables such as courgettes.

6 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 litre/2 pints stock prepared using Italian stock cubes, if possible
700g/1lb 8oz arborio rice
180ml/6fl oz dry white wine
big pinch powdered saffron or heaped teaspoon saffron strands
2 whole eggs, beaten
Salt and pepper
6 tablespoons grated Parmesan, plus extra to serve

Butter a ring shaped mould of 750ml (1 1/ 2 pints) capacity and set aside.

In a large heavy saucepan melt four tablespoons of the butter and sauté the chopped onion until it is golden. Meanwhile, in a separate saucepan, bring the stock to a boil.

Add the arborio rice to the frying onion and toss carefully until the grains are all well coated with the butter. Add to this the dry white wine and allow it to evaporate while stirring continuously over a medium heat.

Carefully add all the boiling stock to the rice along with the saffron and continue stirring over a medium heat for about 10 to 12 minutes.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the beaten eggs, freshly grated Parmesan and the two remaining tablespoons of butter and season with salt and pepper. Stir quickly to blend all the ingredients well into the rice mixture.

Fill the buttered mould with the rice mixture, pressing it down gently.

Heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and bake the rice ring for around 20 minutes to finish cooking. Once ready, remove from the oven and set aside to rest for around 15 minutes.

Turn the rice ring out on to a warm serving dish and fill the centre with your favourite Italian sauce. Classic tomato sauce is an ideal accompaniment. Sprinkle the dish with the extra grated Parmesan and serve immediately.

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