This delicious and very attractive Italian dish of layers of rice, peas and spinach makes an interesting supper dish.
22 fl. oz. water
3 teaspoons salt
6 oz. Italian rice, such as Avorio
1 lb. fresh green peas, shelled
1 lb. spinach, thoroughly washed
1 teaspoon black pepper
1½ oz. butter
1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh marjoram
1 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated
In a large saucepan, bring 15 fluid ounces of the water and 1 teaspoon of the salt to the boil over high heat. Add the rice and stir well. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to moderate and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the rice is tender and fluffy.
Meanwhile, in medium-sized saucepan, cook the peas with the remaining water and 1 teaspoon salt over moderate heat for 8 minutes, or until they are tender. Drain the peas in a colander and set them aside.
In another medium-sized saucepan, cook the spinach with the remaining salt over moderate heat for 7 to 12 minutes, or until it is just tender. Do not add any water because there should be enough left on the spinach leaves after washing.
Drain the spinach in a colander, pressing down with a wooden spoon to extract any excess liquid. Chop the spinach and sprinkle it with the pepper. Arrange one-third of the spinach on the bottom of a shallow heatproof dish.
When the rice is cooked add 1 ounce of the butter, the basil and marjoram and toss until the rice is well coated. Spoon one-third of the rice over the spinach.
Puree the peas in a blender or mash them through a strainer. Spread one-third of the pea puree over the rice. Continue making layers of spinach, rice and peas, until all the ingredients have been used up.
Preheat the grill to high.
Sprinkle the cheese over the top and dot with the remaining butter, cut into small pieces. Place the dish under the grill . Grill for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and beginning to brown. Serve at once.