Alex Guarnaschelli's Rice Ball Cake

This delicious dish, inspired by flavorful Italian rice balls, is the perfect hearty recipe for when you're trying to use that leftover rice in the fridge. If you're not a fan of pancetta, substitute it with regular bacon and use the cooking grease to add even more flavor to the dish! Or, if you're vegetarian swap the pancetta with a scoop of ricotta cheese. Whichever way you choose to enjoy this recipe, it's sure to be tasty.

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4 cups cooked rice
2 cups finely grated Parmesan cheese
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
8 oz mozzarella ball, cubed
Kosher salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups peas
3/4 cup small cubes pancetta or slab bacon, cooked
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cups tomato sauce (on the side)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.


2. Combine the rice, Parmesan cheese, and eggs in a large mixing bowl and mix. Gently fold in the mozzarella, salt, red pepper flakes, peas, pancetta and pancetta grease.


3. Heat a 9-inch nonstick pan and add the olive oil. When it begins to smoke lightly, remove the pan from the heat and press in the rice (so it starts to stick together) mix to form a "cake" taking up the whole pan. Return the pan to the heat.


4. Brown the cake on medium heat 12-15 minutes then, place the pan in the oven and bake 20-25 minutes or until hot in the center and the mozzarella melted.


5. Remove from the oven. Cool 10 minutes. Unmold onto a serving platter. Serve with hot tomato sauce.