Cheesy Rice Cake Stuffed with Herbs and Greens

  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 15 min
  • Prep: 15 min
  • Cook: 1 hr
  • Yield: 4 to 6 as entree, or 8 as starter or party offering
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Ingredients

4 tablespoons butter, plus some to grease pan and dot top of cake

4 cups chicken stock

2 1/2 cups long grain white rice

1 cup grated grana padano cheese or Parmigiano-Reggiano

Salt and freshly grated black pepper

Salt and freshly grated black pepper 

1/4 cup EVOO

3 to 4 baby fennel, or 1 bulb fennel, trimmed and chopped

3 to 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

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch springform cake pan. 
  2. In a saucepot, bring the stock, rice, 1 cup water and butter to a boil. Stir, cover and cook 16 to 17 minutes. Stir in three-quarters of the cheese and season with salt and pepper. Cool.
  3. Pile half of the rice into the cake pan and mold across the bottom and up the sides of the pan. 
  4. Heat the EVOO in a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add the fennel, garlic, onions, raisins and some salt and pepper, and cook to soften, 8 to 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 to 30 minutes. 
  5. Serve warm or at room temp, 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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