Last night was the one-year anniversary of The Dude asking me to marry him. In honor of that wonderful occasion, I wanted to make him a special dinner. Also, he’s been suffering with a nasty sinus infection and I’d hoped this would let him know just how much I wished I could take away how lousy he has been feeling.
Last week I received my copy of La Cucina Italiana in the mail. I love that magazine because it allows me to remember the all too brief time that I spent in Italy. The photos are gorgeous, the articles about cuisine trends in Italy are interesting, and the recipes are a lot more than Grandma’s Sunday meatballs and sauce – not that there is ANYTHING wrong with Grandma’s meatballs and sauce!
A recipe caught my eye in this month’s issue that reminded me of the movie Big Night. It’s a Neapolitan Rice Timbale or Sartú. If you saw the movie you know that the two brothers Primo and Segundo are trying to make a go of their restaurant. They are promised that recording star and entertainer Louie Prima will come to their struggling restaurant, which will put them on the map. So in honor of the big night, Primo, played wonderfully by Tony Shalhoub, creates a menu that pulls out all the stops, including a huge, beautiful timbale.
I’ve never made a timbale before, but how could I not try something that has wild mushrooms, onions, peas, sausage, meatballs, fresh mozzarella and arborio rice? Let me just say that this is a stick to your ribs, earthy dish that is perfect for a fall evening. Pop open a bottle of good chianti, toss a quick salad with olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar and you’ve got a meal fit for a king, or a dude!
Just a note if you are going to try this – give yourself plenty of time! It’s especially important that the rice cools to room temperature before you try to mold it to the sides of the dish. And be sure to grease the mold really well – as you can see, I had a bit of a sticking issue on the top – but it still looks great. And the taste? Buona, buona!
Here is the link to the recipe: http://lacucinaitalianamagazine.com/recipe/rice_timbale
As a side note, the recipe calls for chicken livers. I left them out as I am not a fan, but if you like them then more power to you!
So, plan your own big night and try this recipe!