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Source: Rice

Spinach and Rice Timbale
A molded rice dish that can compliment any meal that may include greens and salads.
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Serves: 8 to 10
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
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1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 teaspoons dry bread crumbs, finely ground
2/3 cup long grain white rice
1 tablespoon olive oil
12 ounces sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, cored, peeled and chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 (10 ounce) packages chopped frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry or 2 pounds of fresh spinach, stems removed
1 (15 ounce) container part skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup freshly Grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
5 large eggs, well beaten
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
1 tablespoon (optional) olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 pounds fresh plum tomatoes, peeled, cored, seeded and chopped, or 1 (28 ounce) can peeled whole tomatoes in juice, undained
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
Srpigs of fresh basil, for garnish (optional)

Prepare the Timale: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 inch springform pan with the butter and sprinkle the sides and bottom with breadcrumbs, tilting the pan to coat it.

Cook the rice following the basic method for boiled rice or according to the package directions. Set Aside.

In a large nonreactive skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the sausage. onion bell pepper and garlic, and cook breaking up the sausage with a wooden spoon., for about 7 minutes until the sausage is no longer pink. With a slotted spoon, remove the sausage and vegetables to a bowl. and discard all but one tablespoon of fat.

If using fresh spinach, place the wet spinach in a saucepan, cover and cook for about 7 minutes or until wilted. Drain, rinse under cold running water and squeeze dry, coarsely chop.

Stir the rice, spinach ricotta, Parmesan and basil to sausage mixture. Add the eggs and mix well. Season with salt and hot pepper flakes. ( the sausage and Parmesan are salty, so add salt judisiously). Transfer mixture to prepared springform pan and smooth the top.

Bake for 1 1/4 hours or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the timbale to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, Prepare the sauce: In a medium size nonreactive saucepan, heat the reserved tablespoon of fat or the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently for 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, or until aromatic. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until sauce has thickened. Stir in the basil, salt, hot pepper flakes and simmer for 5 minutes longer.

Pour the sauce into a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process until the sauce is a slight chunky puree. Return the sauce to the saucepan and cover to keep warm. cut the timbale into wedges and serve with the warm sauce, garnish with basil sprigs if desired.

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