About this recipe: This open pie, with its richly flavoured ‘risotto’ crust and Mediterranean vegetable filling topped with melting cubes of soft mozzarella, looks wonderful and tastes sensational! Serve with a chunky green salad of chopped celery and chicory tossed with a little plain low-fat yogurt and chopped fresh mint.
Parmesan cheese is not truly vegetarian, as it contains animal rennet. To make this dish 100% vegetarian, omit the cheese or find a suitable vegetarian substitute made without animal rennet. In supermarkets look for the 'parmesan style hard cheeses' which are suitable for vegetarians.
To save time, replace the basil, Parmesan cheese, pine nut and olive oil mixture with about 4 tbsp pesto sauce from a jar. * For an aubergine and halloumi rice pie, make the risotto as in the main recipe up to the end of step 2, adding a pinch of saffron threads to the stock. Instead of the pesto mixture, flavour with 25 g (scant 1 oz) toasted chopped almonds, 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint and the finely grated zest of 1 orange. Stir in the beaten egg and seasoning to taste, then finish the risotto case as in the main recipe. For the filling, fry 3 crushed garlic cloves in 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil for 30 seconds. Add 375 g (13 oz) diced aubergine and cook on a high heat, stirring, for 10 minutes or until softened and lightly browned. Add 1 can of chopped tomatoes, about 400 g, with the juice, and simmer for 5 minutes or until most of the juice has evaporated. Spoon into the risotto case, top with 125 g (4½ oz) diced halloumi cheese and bake for 8–10 minutes or until golden. Serve hot, garnished with sprigs of fresh mint.
Apart from the nutritional benefits of rice, it has been used in natural medicine to treat a variety of digestive problems including indigestion, mild diarrhoea and constipation. * Pesto, a classic Italian sauce, has a high fat content because of the inclusion of olive oil, pine nuts and Parmesan cheese. However, the majority of fat is present as the more healthy monounsaturated fat rather than saturated fat. * Mozzarella cheese is lower in fat than many other cheeses and as a result is also lower in calories.
A * B12, C, niacin, calcium, copper, zinc * B1, B2, B6, E, folate, iron, potassium