Cheesy leek and rice bake
I love this dish, which I also make with courgettes. It started off as a pie encased in filo pastry; but then oneday I didn’t have any filo pastry in the freezer and I made it without, and it is just as good, although different. I like to serve it surrounded, or covered, with Pomodorini Arrostiti (roasted cherry tomatoes).
400g leeks, trimmed and cut into 5mm rounds 85g arborio rice
2 eggs, lightly beaten 100ml extra virgin olive oil 4 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp dried breadcrumbs Cherry tomatoes
For this dish you need only the white part of the leeks and the inside pale green leaves (keep the green foliage for a soup).
Put the leeks in a sink of cold water. Wash thoroughly, removing any earth, drain and put in a bowl. Add the rice. Add the beaten eggs to the bowl together with half the oil, 3 tbsp of the Parmesan and salt and pepper. Mix well – hands are the best tool for the job.
Leave the mixture to rest for about 1 hour: the rice and the leeks will absorb some of the liquid and soften up.
Heat the oven to 160°C Fan/180°C. Grease an oven dish with some of the remaining oil and spoon in the mixture. Mix together the remaining Parmesan and the breadcrumbs and sprinkle over the top. Drizzle with the remaining oil and bake for 45–50 minutes.
Taste by inserting the point of a knife into the middle and dig out a few grains of rice. They should be tender. Remove the dish from the oven and leave to rest for a few minutes before serving.
For the roasted cherry tomatoes:
Heat the oven to 180°C fan (200°C).
Cut the tomatoes in half and put them in a large bowl. Pour in a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Mix well, but gently so as not to break them.
Place on a baking sheet and roast for 5 - 7 minutes, until just slightly wrinkled and bubbling.