An Italian Rice Torte, Meathenge goes vegetarian with the help of a Wrangler

Monkey Wrangler of Sourdough Monkey Wrangler posted about an old family recipe back on the 4th. Something about wanting to recreate a rice torte that his great-grandmother had done years ago. Yeah, I dunno, it didn’t stir anything in me so I passed.
It wasn’t until Cookiecrumb of I’m Mad and I Eat decided to do her own version that I thought maybe I should jump in. What do you think? I know it’s a vegetarian dish, but wouldn’t it be nice to teach an old dog new tricks?

Come Saturday morning I found myself with time for doing nothing but shopping and cooking. I started at the Berkeley Farmer’s market, Fatted Calf stall to be exact. I described to Toponia what I was up to and she recommended their pancetta over the bacon. Excellent, first ingredient down. Only an hour and a half and 5 more stores later, I was ready.
Of course, one wants to stick to the recipe the first time. Just to see how it goes, right? Nope, I’d planned on messing this one up from the beginning. You don’t expect any less from me, do you?
Here be muh shoppins list:
asparagus – 1 bunch – bite size
zucchini – 2 medium – shredded, squoze dry
Italian parsley – 1 bunch
white onion – 1 – fine dice
celery – 3 stalks – slicey
trumpet mushrooms – 4 ounces (I have no idea how much I actually used)
short grain Rice – 1 cup
milk – 4 cups
butter – half stick + 4 pats
eggs – 4
dry tangy cheese – 1 cup (I added more though) – I used Cotija (that’s Mexican cheese!)
panko bread crumbs – 2 cups

Mostly cook the rice in milk & butter. Test rice and pull when the grain barely gives upon smoosh test. I let mine sit for 30 minutes afterwards cause I was lazy and din’t want to do anything else. I don’t think you’re supposed to do that, but it worked out fine. Suggest you use good pot, not an electric rice cooker. They get pretty intense and the milk will scorch (Hi, Cookie!).
While rice is cooking, saute onions (fine dice), mushrooms (fine dice) & celery in extra virgin. Towards end, add other vegetables such as the ‘gus and parsley. Set aside.

Combine everything together in one large bowl. Pour in to appropriate size casserole rig.
Brown panko in butter. Cover mixture with crumbs.
It was at this intersection of the recipe I wanted to make a pretty design on the top. Just like Cookie did, ya know? So, there I was playing with designs and seeing if I could spell something such as, “Meathenge rules!” You get the idea. Nothing worked out and I said to heck with it and just stuffed the tips in like this:

Reminded me of a horror movie, Motel Hell. Wasn’t that the name? With everyone buried up to their necks? In the garden? Or somethin’? I played the part and pretended the spears were little people I was torturing. “Aaaaaiieeeee !!!” Cooed the Biggles. Sure they dried out, but I was done! And quite hungry to say the least.

Bake at 375 for about 50 minutes. I pulled when the internal temp hit about 160 to 170.

Ain’t cooking grand? Most of it is anyway. I like the part when you get to eat. And brother, or sister, this torte was goohood. I’d never made one before and it’s painfully easy to see how many different directions one could go with this one. I say, “Thank You” to MW and Cookie for getting me off my hillbillly ass and jumping in feet first. It was great, even the 3rd day around.
xo, Biggles

11 thoughts on “An Italian Rice Torte, Meathenge goes vegetarian with the help of a Wrangler

  1. Hey Cookie,
    Oh dear, you just gave me an idea for next time.
    Hey J.J.,
    Tee hee, I was just over at yer site seeing how things were going. Liked that wangly country road action. Makes me feel better.

  2. Wow Biggles! Looks great, and positively medieval with the spear points. Saaaweeeet!
    I’m a bit confused though…… is pancetta in it vegetarian? Was the weight under a certain threshold? Should I tell my veggie-head pals that they need to re-evaluate their definition? Does this mean that your curried goat is also?
    And using cotija…….awesome!

  3. Yeh, I heard about that. Saw an ad in a local publication about a business for sale, and to my surprise it was A&B. I called and talked to the son, and he said that they were too busy!?!? I think the parents are ready to retire, and the son has the people skills of a banana slug. He always leers at the customers from behind things in the store, as if they were all going to shop-lift from him. He does it to everyone, and it’s a little creepy. Just what I had in mind…let’s go into A&B and swipe a lamb shank. How in the heck did you hear about it? If you or Chile and the gang need a closeout slab of bacon or something, let me know. I’d be happy to get it for you, all wrapped up pretty like. B.C.
    p.s.–I’m over in Hawaii right now; one of the true meat capitals of the world. It’s wonderful!

  4. Biggles darlin’
    I am so glad to have this “vegetarian” recipe! Keep ’em comin’.

  5. Hey Chandler, We were planning a Meat Adventure your way in Sept. Keep us informed about A&B. We will proably take you up on your offer on the closeout. I have to go cry now. Bye

  6. Watch out, tofu is sure to be next…
    Of course, that will be the day pigs will fly, so all you’ll be left with is the soybeans.
    That asparagus spear is truly gorgeous!