Sicilian Rice Timbale
The recipe for this tumala is a lighter version of its predecessor, an ancient casserole of layered meats, cheese, egg, and rice.
Yield: serves 4-6
- 2 cups arborio rice
- 2 1⁄2 cups grated pecorino romano
- 1⁄2 lb. ziti or penne rigate
- 2 cups warm Sicilian Tomato-Meat Sauce or other tomato sauce
- 1⁄2 cup fresh shelled or frozen peas
- 1⁄2 cup bread crumbs
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 eggs
- Cook rice in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, about 15 minutes. Drain, refresh in cold water, then transfer to a large bowl. Allow rice to cool completely, then stir in 2 of the eggs and 1 cup of pecorino romano. Cover with a dish towel and set aside in refrigerator for at least 6 hours.
- Preheat oven to 400°. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until not quite tender, about 8 minutes. Drain, transfer to a large bowl, and toss with 1 cup of the tomato sauce. (It is important that sauce be thick or pasta mixture will be too watery and tumala will fall apart when unmolded.) Add peas and 1⁄2 cup of the cheese, then mix gently with a wooden spoon and set aside to cool.
- To assemble the tumala, coat a well-oiled 2-quart 8″ ovenproof bowl with bread crumbs. Moisten hands so that rice and pasta won’t stick to them. Completely line bowl with rice, forming an even rice wall about 1⁄2″ thick. Gently pack pasta into bowl, then top with remaining rice, pressing it firmly in place. Lightly beat remaining egg, then brush over top of tumala.
- Bake until tumala is golden, about 1 hour. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then loosen sides with a knife. Turn out onto a large platter. (If necessary, tap bottom of bowl to loosen.) Slice into wedges at the table and serve topped with additional sauce, grated cheese, and pepper.