Serves 8 to 10
The gentle cooking of this spinach rice and dried tomato mold in a bagnomaria (water bath) guarantees that it will be moist and hold its shape. Besides making a nice presentation with its flecks of green, white, and red, this dish can accompany just about any type of main course. Assemble it early in the day, refrigerate, and bake it just before serving (if refrigerated, bake for about ten minutes longer than the recipe specifies.
4 tablespoons butter
1 medium white onion, diced
1 3/4 cups long-grain white rice
Two 10-ounce packaged frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
5 cups hot chicken broth
1/2 cup diced dried tomatoes
1/2 cup freshly grated Aziago cheese
Fine sea salt to taste
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 7 -1/2 by 3-inch round baking mold or a l-1/2 quart soufflé dish.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the onions and cook until they begin to turn golden brown. Remove the onions to a plate. Add the rice to the saucepan and cook, stirring to coat it with the butter. Cook, stirring, until the rice begins to brown lightly, then add the spinach and stir well. Slowly stir in the broth, lower the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes, covered, or until all the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and add the onions, along with the dried tomatoes and cheese. Stir well and add the salt.
Pack the mixture into the mold, and smooth the top. Place a piece of foil over the top of the mold. Place the mold in a larger baking pan and add boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the mold. Bake for 30 minutes.
Remove the mold from the water and discard the foil. Invert a serving dish over the top of the mold. Carefully turn the mold upside down, tap the bottom of the mold, and unmold the sformato. Serve at once.
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