A few years ago, okay, almost 20 years ago, when I first discovered risotto, I went mad for it. I cooked a batch at least once a week and added all manner of elements to create Franken-risottos that were philosophically aligned with the originals, but truly had a life of their own. They were almost all delicious and made wonderful work lunches, but, slowly, risotto and I drifted apart.
24 Apr 2013 - 3:57 PM  UPDATED 21 Aug 2014 - 11:35 AM

That is, until I decided to renew the friendship by making the cauliflower and cavolo nero rice pie in our To Market story of the May issue. This filo pie, filled with a simple risotto, is very similar to burek, which is found up and down the shores of the eastern Mediterranean. I ate wheelbarrow-loads of it in Turkey and have even been known to make my own filo pastry as a starting point (it’s a nice party trick when there are kids around). I have tried burek (or pitta, as it’s known in Serbia) with a number of different fillings, but never with rice, so I was keen to try this version.

I enjoyed re-engaging with my old friend risotto and I find the constant stirring quite contemplative – it also prevents me from doing anything else at the same time – something of which I’m often guilty and which occasionally results in kitchen mishaps. Our recipe calls for vialone nano rice, which is imported from Verona, however I substituted Arborio, because that’s what my local shop had. I also used silverbeet instead of cavolo nero because I’m all about making life easy.

Once the risotto had cooled, I assembled the pie. Call me crazy, but I didn’t cover the filo with a damp tea towel and it was fine – yeah, that’s me, living on the culinary edge! I seemed to have more than two cups of risotto, and there was plenty of filo left over, so I made a third roll and wedged that into my tin as well. If you’re not up for that, any leftover risotto would make a great aldesko office lunch – I think risotto reheats really well. I did use more butter than the recipes states – maybe I was a bit heavy handed, but, really, can you ever have too much butter?

I baked the pie for about five minutes longer than suggested – my oven has its moments – to get it lovely and golden. After letting it rest for about 10 minutes, I popped the springform pan and released pie perfection – Mr Ed was thrilled that this one was staying at home, rather than heading for Feast HQ.

What food did you used to have a crush on?

Editor, SBS Feast