Good to eat both hot and cold, these mini puff pastry rice pies are tomato rice stuffed with a stringy cheese heart. It’s a one pot preparation, thus fuss-less.
We have taken inspiration from the Italian Timballo, a culinary primo piatto baked in a cake mould served as a flan and stuffed with several ingredients always very rich: from pasta to rice, meat, poultry, mushrooms and so on. Sometimes they are prepared by putting the ingredients inside puff pastry or shortcrust pastry.
We only made it smaller by creating mini rice pies and served them as an appetizer. For a tastier twist we have added some smoked pancetta.
Serves 4, Preparation time 20 mins, Cooking time 50 minutes
- 2 puff pastry rolls
- 200 g short-grain white rice
- 500 ml tomato sauce
- 1 onion
- 1 egg
- Diced smoked pancetta, 80 g
- Asiago or Provolone cheese, to taste
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil – EVOO, 2 tbsp
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Breadcrumbs, a pinch
Roll out puff pastry and with a pastry cutter or glass form discs slightly larger than the size of ramekin so that they can be closed and sealed well afterwards. Calculate 2 discs of puff pastry for each ramekin.
Chop the onion and cut the cheese into cubes. Beat the egg and set aside.
Heat two tablespoons of oil and brown the chopped onion for 1 minute – if necessary add a drop of water to prevent it from burning.
Now add smoked pancetta and brown it until it becomes crispy, then the tomato sauce, stir, salt and pepper, a few basil leaves and cook for 20 minutes.
Pour the rice directly into the tomato sauce and cook it inside, stir often and add water as soon as necessary. Add salt and pepper again if necessary. Turn off the heat, let it cool down and add a handful of grated Parmesan cheese.
Pre-heat the oven to 200 C/ 400F/ Gas Mark 6
Brush the bottom of each ramekin with a drop of oil and sprinkle with breadcrumbs, now line the bottom with the disk of puff pastry pierced with a fork – so it won’t swell during cooking – add a pinch of breadcrumbs and stuff the inside with rice, put a cube of cheese inside, cover with the other disk of puff pastry, fold the edges inwards, brush the surface with beaten egg, prick the surface and bake to 200 C/ 400F/ Gas Mark 6 for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Take them out of the oven, let them cool a little at room temperature and serve.