Easter Italian Rice Pie with Rum Soaked Raisins

Easter Italian rice pie Italian Rice Pie or Torta di Riso is a traditional Easter dessert, it’s a sweet pie and there are many versions of it, each family has their own. Mine is filled with creamy ricotta and mascarpone cheese, flavors of vanilla and orange, cooked arborio rice and rum soaked raisins. The dough is traditionally made with a pasta frolla but I’ve seen it made with just about everything, a typical shortcrust pie dough, either homemade or storebought, puff pastry and even made without a crust. I prefer phyllo dough for mine because I love the crispy crunchy texture it brings to the pie plus it goes so well with the creamy inside, and did I mention, it’s easy!

Easter italian rice pie ingredients The filling comes together quickly if you use your food processor, you just dump every thing in and give it a whirl!

The makings of an Easter Italian rice pie The only thing that needs to be made ahead of time is the rice, I cooked it the day before and refrigerated it and the raisins need ample time to soak in some warmed up rum, you want them nice and plump!

The food processor makes the filling nice and smooth, then all you have to do is stir in the rice and raisins.

I love how free form phyllo is, and it’s so forgiving, no matter how it looks before you bake it, it always comes out beautiful!

Easter Italian rice pie Isn’t she pretty?

Easter Italian rice pie You have to be patient when it comes out of the oven, let it come to room temperature then sprinkle powdered sugar all over.

Now she looks even prettier!

Easter Italian rice pieEaster Italian rice pie It’s creamy, custard like with a nice texture from the cooked rice, it’s crunchy, flaky and I have to admit, the rum soaked raisins make it! I should have added a little more…

Easter Italian rice pie Buona Pasqua!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Easter Italian Rice Pie with Rum Soaked Raisins
 
A traditional Easter rice pie made with phyllo and rum soaked raisins.
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 cups of well drained dense fresh ricotta cheese
  • ⅓ cup mascarpone cheese
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • 5 eggs
  • 1½ cups of cooked arborio rice
  • ½ to ¾ cup golden raisins
  • ½ cup of rum liquor
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1½ tablespoons orange zest
  • 6 or 7 sheets of phyllo
  • ½ stick of melted unsalted butter
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Cook the rice the day before or early in the day by placing 1 cup of dry arborio into 4 cups of milk, cook until tender with a little bite, then drain off all the leftover milk, cool down and refrigerate.
  3. Place golden raisins in a small bowl, pour rum on top, heat in microwave until warm not boiling then take out and let them sit for about an hour, then strain off extra rum.
  4. In food processor blend together the powdered sugar, ricotta, mascarpone, eggs, vanilla and zest until smooth, pour into a bowl and stir in the rice and raisins. ( you'll have some rice leftover).
  5. With the melted butter lightly brush a 10 inch x 1½ deep pie dish.
  6. Start layering your phyllo sheets over the bottom and up the sides leaving an over hang all around. Each phyllo layer needs to be brushed with the melted butter.
  7. When layering is complete pour the filling mixture into the pie dish on top of phyllo.
  8. Fold up the sides that hung over, you don't have to completely cover the top, it looks nice if you can peek through.
  9. Bake 45 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.
  10. Dust with powdered sugar when it comes to room temperature.
  11. For leftover pie, refrigerate, but then bring it to room temp when you want to eat it again for optimal flavor.

 

Print Friendly
Signature

Springtime Pasta

springtime pasta Today I can officially say that spring has arrived, I’m so happy to be done with winter and heavy comfort foods, it’s time to lighten up! Today I’m sharing with you a fresh and fabulous pasta dish, it’s nice and light to welcome in the season, and it’s easy to make.

springtime pasta ingredientsSpring vegetables are making their way into the stores right now so feel free to incorporate some of your own favorites into this dish. I chose pencil thin asparagus, a variety of gorgeous colored baby carrots, artichoke hearts, zucchini and fava beans.

The carrot and zucchini ribbons were made with a simple vegetable peeler, you could substitute fresh baby peas instead of the fava beans if you like, and replace the fresh for frozen artichoke hearts if you don’t want to do all that prep work.

The light fresh tomato sauce is what ties everything together, it’s simply roasted cherry tomatoes with a bit of garlic and olive oil. The roasting process makes the tomatoes burst and ooze juice that happily gets to mingle with the garlic. Now who wouldn’t want to toss their pasta into that?

fettuccine For this recipe I chose a nice fettuccine, I think the curly strands look pretty with the zucchini and carrot ribbons.

springtime pasta Freshly grated shards of Parmigiano Reggiano tossed in and on top of the pasta enhances all the flavors above and beyond.

springtime pasta Wouldn’t you like to twirl your fork into this goodness?

springtime pasta Happy Spring!

5.0 from 3 reviews
Springtime Pasta
 
A fresh and lightened up springtime pasta dish
Author:
Ingredients
  • 12 ounces of dry fettuccine, cooked al dente
  • 2 pints of various colored cherry tomatoes, sliced length wise
  • 2 small garlic cloves, crushed finely
  • 1 or 2 medium zucchini, made into ribbons
  • 1 bunch of colored carrots, made into ribbons
  • 1 bunch of pencil thin asparagus, each piece cut into three sections
  • ½ cup of fava beans prepped and peeled, can substitute peas
  • 1 cup of quartered artichoke hearts
  • Parmigiano Reggiano shards, a generous amount to taste
  • olive oil
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place cherry tomato halves and garlic into a glass pan or a baking sheet lined with foil, add salt and pepper and roast until tomatoes burst and start to shrivel and caramelize, about 25 minutes.
  3. Make sure juice does not burn off ,as it's important to remember all oven temps vary, so keep watching. When tomatoes are done, set aside.
  4. In a large saucepan add a good drizzle of olive oil and add the zucchini and carrot ribbons, just sauteing until they start to limp.
  5. Add in the artichoke hearts, favas, and asparagus, toss gently and saute for a minute.
  6. Add the roasted tomatoes and all the juice, then toss in gently all the cooked pasta.
  7. Garnish with lots of Parmigiano Reggiano.

 

Print Friendly
Signature

Spring Vegetables in Parmesan Lemon Cream Sauce

spring vegetables in parmesan cream For seven years in a row Whole Foods Market has been celebrating the King of Cheeses, Parmigiano Reggiano. This past weekend all Whole Foods across the country simultaneously “cracked” and sampled an 85- pound wheel of authentic Parmigiano Reggiano.

Did you know that every wheel at every Whole Foods Market is aged for 24 months? This is the best age in terms of taste and texture, in fact it cannot even be called Parmigiano Reggiano until it’s aged at least 12 months.

It has a rich distinctive flavor, it’s creamy, nutty, salty and savory all in one, and a little goes a long way!

They asked me if I wanted to join in the celebration, and of course I said yes. I always keep a hunk of of Parmigiano Reggiano as a staple in my kitchen, a good risotto just doesn’t taste the same without it and I can’t imagine not using it in my butternut squash gnocchi and ravioli.

It’s a great addition in many of my salads, sometimes just by simply grating large shards on top, and it goes without saying that it highlights many pasta dishes, in fact just last weekend I made a baked pasta dish with a tomato cream sauce, and honestly the Parmigiano Reggiano took it over the top, don’t get me wrong I love my Romano, but it wouldn’t have done it justice, and that’s how I feel about it, when I want a special finish to a dish that I’ve made, I always reach for Parmigiano Reggiano.

So to celebrate I wanted to make something that would showcase this special cheese and since spring is literally around the corner I decided to incorporate some of my favorite springtime veggies, lovely artichokes, fava beans, skinny asparagus and baby zucchini, and bathe them in a lemony parmesan cream sauce!

Parmigiano Reggiano Keep in mind Parmigiano Reggiano has a distinctive tan colored rind that’s pin stamped repeatedly all over, by this you will know it’s the real deal.

Parmigiano Reggianospring vegetables So on with the recipe! I used a shallow pan, 8×11, and just 1 1/2 inches deep, you want the veggies to peek out of the sauce, it gives a nicer presentation instead of them all piled on top of one another in a deep pan. You might have to double or triple the sauce ingredients depending on the size of your pan and amount of vegetables you use.

I filled my pan single layer with sliced baby leeks, skinny asparagus, artichoke hearts, fava beans, baby zucchini and sugar snap peas, but you can use any combination of spring vegetables you like.

All the vegetables are pretty much pre-cooked and ready to go. I roasted the zucchini, asparagus and leek slices in the oven until crisp tender. The sugar snap peas were blanched for 4 minutes and of course the artichokes were cooked ahead of time, you could use frozen artichoke hearts if you want, but I wouldn’t use canned. The fava beans were bought and pre-cooked, all I needed to do was peel the skin off, that was easy and save alot of time.

spring vegetables in parmesan cream Heavy cream, nutty Parmigiano Reggiano along with lemon zest and mint is a match made in spring veggie heaven!

spring vegetables in parmesan cream This would be a wonderful side dish to your Easter table!

5.0 from 3 reviews
Spring Vegetables in Parmesan Lemon Cream Sauce
 
The amount of sauce ingredients I used was for my 11x8 inch pan, 1½ deep, use your discretion and double or triple the amount if using a larger pan.
Author:
Ingredients
  • Assorted spring vegetables of your choice, precooked, placed single layer in a shallow pan, I used leeks, artichoke hearts, sugar snap peas, skinny aspragus and baby zucchini and fava beans.
  • 1¼ cups Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
  • 1½ cups, heavy cream
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • fresh mint
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In a small sauce pan add the heavy cream and simmer just until it starts to bubble along the edges,
  2. ( this is a very important step), then remove from stove and toss in half of the zest and half of the grated Parmigiano Reggiano, stir gently.
  3. Spoon the cream sauce over and around all the vegetables.
  4. Sprinkle remaining cheese all over.
  5. Bake in 400 degree oven, uncovered until cheesy sauce sets and is thickened.
  6. If you want a little golden color, place pan under the broiler for a couple of minutes but please keep checking, don't walk away!
  7. Garnish with remaining zest and mint leaves, and a little more Parmigiano Reggiano wouldn't hurt.

 

Print Friendly
Signature