Vegetarian Rice Timbale with Grilled Eggplants Recipe
The Rice Timbale is more challenging to make than Risotto, but it is delicious and presents well. It is practical for dinner parties as you can prepare the rice and the filling the day before, and just compose the Timbale a few hours before your party. It can be served as a main dish and if you have a nice shaped tin, it will intrigue your guests when brought at the dinner table. Suitable for gluten free and vegetarian diets. #yourguardianchef #rice #italianrecipe
Stir fry the onion with 2 tbsp of butter at very low heat, the onion should not burn.
Once the onion becomes translucent, add the rice and increase the heat. The rice has to toast in the butter so that the grains are sealed.
If you want to make a red timbale, you can add 1/4 cup of tomato sauce now
Proceed to cook the rice like a risotto. The rice should be continually stirred and stock added regularly 1 or 2 ladles at a time. Cook for 15 minutes.
Once cooked, add the rest of the butter and let it cool down at room temperature.
Once it is cold mix the rice with parmesan cheese and 2 eggs.
Grill the eggplants
Clean the eggplants, peel the skin and cut them lengthwise.
Grill them over a hot iron pan.
Season them with salt and let them cool down.
Covering the Baking tin
Oil a baking tin with a hole in the center
Line the tin with the grilled eggplants slices radially from the center to the external side
Preparing the filling
Cut the remaining grilled eggplants in small pieces and add them to the tomato sauce.
Add to the sauce the mozzarella cut in cubes and stir.
Composing the Timbale
Spread the rice on the side of the pan making the space to put in the fillings, and leaving some rice aside to cover the top.
Place the filling inside and cover the top with the remaining rice.
Cook in a hot oven at 390 F - 200 C for 40 minutes or until the top of the Timbale is nicely browned.
Make sure the rice has cooked enough to maintain its shape once turned. If you touch the top it will be hard and nicely crunchy.
Once the Timbale is cooked, wait 10 minutes before turning it over on the serving plate.
Fill in the centre with the remaining sauce, decorate with some green and serve.
When you bring it to the table and cut the first slice, the filling will come out as a nice surprise.
The timbale is made with the same rice as risotto, the best is Carnaroli but you can also use Arborio. It is important to use risotto rice as other types of rice like Basmati will not maintain their shape. The consistency of the rice should be compact but not mushy. Therefore sushi rice is also not suitable.
You can use different vegetables and fillings, and for non-vegetarian also meatballs or seafood. It is important that the filling has a compact consistency otherwise the Timbale will collapse when removed from the mould.
Mixing the filling with cheese, tomato sauce or béchamel will help the Timbale to maintain its shape.
To make sure that the rice does not stick to the pan, I oil the entire pan and line it with the grilled aubergine. You can also use grilled zucchini or any other vegetables, or for a non-vegetarian version line it with prosciutto or bacon.
If you want to make a red timbale, you can add 1/4 cup of tomato sauce before adding the stock to the rice.
If you are pressed for time, an easier option to consider is adding all the stock at once, and boiling the rice for 15 minutes until the stock is completely absorbed. Keep it covered and add hot water if necessary.
Prepare the eggplant sauce a day ahead, so that the sauce can really absorb the flavour of the eggplants.
For a non-vegetarian version, you can line the tin with prosciutto. You would need about 7 oz - 200 g of prosciutto.
Once the timbale is baked wait 10 minutes before turning it on a serving dish.
The timbale tastes even better the day after if you have any leftover.