- Serves: 4-6
- Cook Time: 50 minutes
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Effort: medium
- 1 courgette, about 250g
- 300 g arborio risotto rice
- 100 g mozzarella, cut into 1cm cubes
- 100 g fontina, manchego or other hard, mature cheese
- 50 g parmesan, freshly grated
- olive oil, for greasing
- 4 tbsp toasted breadcrumbs
- sprigs fresh bay leaves
For the tomato sauce:
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 400 g canned chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp dark brown sugar
- black pepper
- 2 handfuls of basil, coarsely chopped or torn
For the basil oil:
- handful of basil
- 4 tbsp extra virgin Italian olive oil
1. Trim the stem end of the courgette and cut lengthways into 5mm thick slices. Blanch in a saucepan of boiling water for 2 minutes, then refresh in ice-cold water.
2. To make the tomato sauce, place the olive oil in a saucepan over a medium heat and add the garlic. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant. Add the chopped tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and sugar, and season to taste. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens slightly.
3. Meanwhile, cook the rice in a saucepan of lightly salted boiling water for about 10 minutes, until al dente. Drain well.
4. Stir the chopped basil into the tomato sauce, then stir in the rice. Stir in the cheeses and taste, adding more seasoning if necessary.
5. Preheat the oven to 230°C/gas 8.
6. Oil the bottom and sides of a 500g loaf tin and coat with 2 tablespoons of the breadcrumbs. Spoon half the rice mixture into the loaf tin and smooth down firmly, then cover with a layer of courgette slices. Top with the rest of the rice, smoothing it down firmly. Sprinkle the remaining breadcrumbs on top. (The cake may be cooled and refrigerated at this point if it is not to be cooked immediately, but return it to room temperature before baking.)
7. To make the basil oil, place the ingredients in a food processor and process briefly. Set aside.
8. Bake the risotto cake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until golden and bubbling around the edges. Allow to rest for a few minutes, then run a sharp knife around the sides, place a board on top, flip over and turn out. If the cake seems to be sticking to the tin, thump the bottom of the tin firmly with a wooden spoon to loosen it.
9. Garnish the cake with bay leaf sprigs. Using a very sharp knife, cut the cake into slices and serve with the basil oil.
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