Now when I say spinach, I mean spinach. I'm afraid silverbeet - often called spinach in Australia - just doesn't cut it in this dish.
I make a hunza pie - yet to make an appearance here - which is very well suited to silverbeet. But please only make this torte with 'English' spinach - and fresh is always best.
This Italian dish is perfect picnic fodder, travels well, lasts a few days in the fridge, is delicious at room temperature and has been the star of many shared buffets.
I have adapted this from Julie Biuso's Italian Cooking - a great New Zealand classic.
SPINACH RICE TORTE
1 T butter
1 cup arborio rice, or another Italian rissotto variety
3 T olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
fresh ground black pepper
fresh ground nutmeg
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 T extra butter, melted
Preheat oven to 200c. Butter or oil a flan dish - ceramic is best as doesn't stick. If you don't have either use a cake tin with a removable base.
Place rice in a small pot filled with water and a bit of salt. Bring to boil, then simmer uncovered for 10-12 minutes or until just cooked. Drain and set aside to cool.
Pick and wash spinach leaves. Flick dry but leave a little water on leaves. Place butter in a large pot with spinach and cook on a medium heat. Shake/stir every minute or so. Once wilted, but not too cooked, remove from pot and leave to cool.
Saute onions for a few minutes in oil before adding garlic. When very soft and a little browned add to rice. Chop spinach and add to rice with eggs, 3/4 cup of the cheese, nutmeg, and pepper. Combine with a large fork. Taste and add salt if needed.
Pour into flan dish and drizzle top with melted butter and rest of parmesan. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until top is crisp.
Serve hot, warm or room temperature.