Timballo di riso (baked Italian rice) with ragù

Serves Icon
Time 03 Hours 20 Minutes
Italian ragù
  • 2 tablespoons (40ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 200g pork mince (ground meat)
  • 300g beef mince (ground meat)
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 125ml red wine
  • 700g Italian passata
  • 300ml water
  • 60g tomato paste
  • 80g peas
  • 400g Arborio or Carnaroli rice
  • Butter for greasing cake pan
  • 50g dried breadcrumbs
  • 2 boiled eggs, roughly chopped
  • 250g mozzarella, cut into 1cm cubes
  • Sea salt

Requires: 24cm loose-bottomed round cake tin

How to Make It
Step 1

To make the ragù, heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery. Cook, stirring, until the onion is soft (approximately 4 minutes). Add the beef and pork mince. Using a mortar and pestle, crush the fennel seeds then add to the stockpot. Season with salt to taste. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, breaking up any lumps until the meat is lightly browned all over.

Step 2

Add the red wine and cook for about 5 minutes or until the wine has reduced. Add the Italian passata and water. Bring to the boil, then add the tomato paste. Reduce the heat to very low, then simmer for 1 hour. Add the peas and simmer for a further 1 hour or until the ragù has reduced to your required consistency. Stir the ragù occasionally so that the sauce does not stick to the pot and burn. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 30 minutes, then transfer half of the ragù to a large bowl.

Step 3

Preheat to 180°C conventional oven (350° Fahrenheit/Gas 4). Place a large pot with water and bring to the boil over high heat. Add a pinch of salt and the rice. Cook for 10 minutes or until ‘al dente’ (firm to the bite). Drain the rice and transfer to the large bowl with ragù. Toss to combine and season with salt to taste.

Step 4

Generously butter a 24 cm loose-bottomed round cake tin on the bottom and sides. Coat the bottom and sides with breadcrumbs and reserve any remaining breadcrumbs (it will be sprinkled on top).

Step 5

Cover the bottom and sides of the cake tin using 2/3 of the saucy rice, then use the back of a metal spoon to press it down and level it on the bottom and sides. Spoon half of the remaining ragù in the middle of the cake pan, using the back of the metal spoon to press down to level it. Arrange the boiled eggs and mozzarella over the ragù, continuing to press it down then top with the remaining ragù (allow 2 cm from the top). Cover with remaining saucy rice and top with remaining breadcrumbs.

Step 6

Bake for 40 minutes or until a golden-brown crust has formed. Allow to cool for 20 minutes before serving – buon appetito.

Note: Steps 1 – 5 can be completed hours or 1 day ahead of cooking in step 6. This is ideal for special occasions or when you have guests.

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