Rice and Spinach Cake

serves 4 to 6

Rice and spinach cake

Torta di riso e spinaci is a handsome and satisfying dish, and best served alongside buffalo mozzarella, a good tomato and a fine bottle of red.

500g fresh, tender-leafed spinach

250g arborio or carnaroli rice

2 medium-sized onions

2 cloves garlic

25g unsalted butter

2 tbsp olive oil

3 fresh, well-born eggs

60g Parmesan, grated

2 or 3 sage leaves

A pinch of thyme

A pinch of oregano

Sea salt

A generous grating of nutmeg

Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. Wash the spinach several times in a sink full of cold water. Remove the stalks and imperfections from the spinach. Place a large pan of water to boil and plunge in the spinach. Quickly remove the spinach, cool in iced water and drain thoroughly. Rinse the pan, refill with water and return to the cooker to boil. Form the spinach into balls, squeezing out any excess water, then chop finely. Tip the rice into the boiling water and cook for 10-12 minutes. Drain the rice and mix with the spinach.

Peel, finely chop, and fry the onions in the oil and butter until pale and softened, then add to the rice and spinach. Pick and chop the herbs, peel and finely chop the garlic, grate in about 4 tablespoons of Parmesan, add in the eggs, sea salt and several grinds of pepper. Mix all this together, then smooth into a dish or a tin lined with liberally-buttered silicon paper. Bake the cake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until golden