I’ve been carrying lots of old issues of Bon Appetit magazine around for more years than I care to remember. Every time I moved, the magazines got boxed up and hauled off to my new home. The piles kept getting higher and higher and I seemed to go to them for a recipe less and less. About a year ago I looked at all those magazines taking up space in my small office and decided it was time to let them go. Since so many of their recipes are available on the internet, there was no reason to keep all of them anymore.
On the day that I set aside to bundle them up, I sat on the floor and took one last look. The address labels alone made interesting reading, as it brought back memories of all those places I had lived. I flipped through issues searching for those recipes that I just had to tear out and after what seemed like hours, I tossed almost all of them. Yes, I said almost. I decided to hang on to the the very oldest in my collection-they were a reminder of the beginning of my passion for food and cooking. Thumbing through their pages I could see myself in my tiny Denver kitchen-so small that when I opened the fridge, I had to step out into the living to reach into it!
There was one article in particular that I had thought about more than once over the years. Written by the well known cookbook author Lynne Rosetto Kasper, (before she had written any books) it was an article on one dish dinners. I remember wanting to make every recipe in this article. There was one in particular that kept haunting me over the years-Pasticcio di Riso-a torte of arborio rice filled with tiny meatballs, chicken and cheeses. When I started planning our upcoming dinner party, I knew it was time to jump right in and serve this to our guests. The recipe is long and somewhat involved, although not difficult. Rather than give you the recipe for meatballs, use your favorite recipe and make them about 1″ and fry in oil until browned and then cook them for about 20 minutes in the sauce you’ll make.
Pasticcio di Riso
Chicken and Sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-3 lb. chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1-28 ounce can crushed Italian plum tomatoes with added puree
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried basil
Pinch of oregano
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Heat oil in 5 to 6 quart saucepan over medium high heat. Add onion and saute until soft, then add garlic and saute an additional minute. Add chicken, tomatoes, paste , basil, oregano, salt and pepper and blend well. Simmer until chicken is tender about 45 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Skin and bone chicken, then shred meat. Reserve sauce.
1 pound Arborio rice
3-1/2 cups rich chicken stock
3 eggs beaten
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Combine the rice, chicken stock, and 1 cup reserved sauce in a 4 quart saucepan. Bring to boil over high heat, stirring several times with a fork. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook 20 minutes or until the rice is still a little firm to the bite. Combine eggs and cheese and stir into rice. Set aside.
1 pound ricotta cheese
8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Combine all ingredients.
Position rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Oil a 10″ springform pan. Spread a thin layer of rice over the bottom and top with a small amount of shredded chicken, some meatballs, cheese filling and some sauce. Continue layering, tapping pan gently as you work so torte is firm. End with a layer of rice and top with sauce. Bake until heated through, about 1 hour. Let stand 10 minutes before unmolding. Slice into wedges and serve with remaining sauce. Serves: 10
I will definitely make this again using my own recipe for tomato sauce and I would cook the chicken in that. In following this recipe there really wasn’t much extra sauce to serve with the torte.