Pasticcio di riso
A dish similar to lasagne but using pancakes made from rice flour rather than pasta sheets. A much lighter and, in my opinion, a far more satisfying version of the classic Italian dish. I have reproduced the recipe by Gabriel Ferron below, and I urge you to try it, it really is a wonderful dish.
400 ml milk, at room temperature
150 g â€˜La Pila Veciaâ€™ rice flour
2 eggs, whole
20 g vegetable oil
2 bay leaves
40 g onion, finely chopped
40 g carrot, finely chopped
40 g celery, finely chopped
40 g bacon, finely chopped
200 g minced beef
200 g minced pork
50 g tomato paste
240 g peeled tomatoes
150 g parmesan, grated
50 g butter
salt and pepper
500 ml milk
50 g rice flour
40 g butter
Adapted from â€˜Dallâ€™antipasto al dolce â€“ il Riso in cucinaâ€™ by Gabriele Ferron
Start by preparing the rice crepes. In a bowl, beat the eggs with a pinch of salt. Pour the milk, at room temperature, and stir in the vegetable oil and the rice flour. Continue to stir firmly until the mixture turns into a soft creamy batter. Let it stand for 30 minutes.
When itâ€™s done heat a non-stick frying pan add some butter and when the pan becomes hot add a ladle of the batter and cook the crepes on both sides. Repeat process until the mixture finishes. Makes around four big pancakes.
For the ragu melt some butter, add extra virgin olive oil and the bay leaves. When hot add the finely chopped onion, carrot, and celery and fry in the pan for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
In a separate pan, cook the meat (minced beef, minced pork and pancetta) slowly until brown. Add some salt and a glass of red wine. Allow the wine to evaporate and then transfer the meat to the pan with the vegetables. Stir, cooking over high flame.
Add the tomato paste and tomatoes, stirring constantly. At this point add 1 litre of vegetable broth or water, stir again and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 40 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and grated nutmeg.
Whilst the ragu is cooking, make the bÃ©chamel sauce. In a saucepan melt the butter over medium heat, add the flour and whisk until the mixture is homogeneous. Remove from heat. Slowly pour the hot milk in the pan and mix well with the butter to stop it from forming lumps. Put the pan on the flame again and continue stirring with a whisk until it reaches boiling point.
Simmer for 20 minutes, adding salt and pepper and grated nutmeg to taste.
Grease a baking tray and layer over the crepes of rice covering the bottom of the tray. Pour over some bÃ©chamel sauce to cover the crepes and then add a layer of ragu. Sprinkle with grated parmesan and scatter small pieces of butter.
Repeat the above steps to create at least 3 layers.
Finish off the surface with the bÃ©chamel, and ragu â€“ no more crepes. Sprinkle the dish with plenty of grated parmesan and some butter. Place the dish in an oven preheated to 200 degrees and cook for 40 minutes.
When cooked, leave to rest before serving, then cut into portions and serve.
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