Baked Spinach Rice
A favorite family casserole, updated. My mother served this as a side dish for company. I have adapted it, using fresh spinach and other embellishments.
- Serves: 6 persons
- 1pound spinach (about 2 bunches), washed
- 1 ½cups long-grain white rice, such as Carolina or jasmine
- Salt and pepper
- 2tablespoons butter, plus more to butter the baking dish
- 1cup grated Parmesan
- ½cup slivered almonds
- 1cup ricotta
- 1cup grated Gruyère or other Swiss cheese
- ¼cup currants
- Pinch of grated nutmeg
- 1teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1teaspoon chopped thyme
- 1teaspoon chopped sage
Step 1Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add spinach and wilt for 30 seconds. Remove with a wire mesh spider or tongs and rinse in a colander with cold water. Squeeze dry and chop roughly.
Step 2In the same pot, boil the rice for 10 minutes, keeping it slightly underdone. Drain and spread on a baking sheet to cool, then transfer to a large bowl.
Step 3Heat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 2-quart soufflé dish (or other baking dish) and dust with about 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan.
Step 4Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add almonds and cook, stirring, until golden, about 2 minutes. Season lightly with salt and add contents of skillet to rice.
Step 5Add remaining Parmesan to rice, along with the ricotta, Gruyère, currants, nutmeg, lemon zest, thyme and sage. Season lightly with salt and add pepper to taste. Add chopped spinach and gently toss rice with hands or wooden spoons to distribute ingredients evenly. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish. (May be prepared up to this point several hours in advance of baking.)
Step 6Cover and bake for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake 10 minutes more, until top is browned.