Torta di Riso


The creamy northern-Italian rice dish risotto can be used to make a "torta", or cake -- good for a party, since it can be made ahead of time.


  • 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, plus more for pan

  • ½ cup bread crumbs

  • 10 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade

  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 1 cup finely chopped mixed fresh herbs, such as thyme, rosemary, basil, parsley, and oregano

  • 3 cups arborio rice

  • 1 cup dry white wine

  • ½ cup grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Butter an 8-inch springform pan and coat with bread crumbs, shaking out excess. Set aside. In a large saucepan, heat stock to boiling, then lower to a simmer.

  2. In a large, heavy saucepan over low heat, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter. Add onion, garlic, and about 2/3 cup of the herbs and cook until soft and transparent. Increase heat to medium and add rice. Stir well to coat all the grains.

  3. Add wine and simmer, stirring constantly, until mostly evaporated. Add 1 cup of hot stock and simmer, stirring constantly, until mostly absorbed, about 3 minutes. Add remaining stock a ladleful at a time, stirring constantly. Always wait until one ladleful is nearly absorbed before adding the next.

  4. Continue in this manner until rice is creamy and firm but not hard in the center. The total cooking time should be about 15 to 20 minutes but will depend on the size of your pan and the amount of heat, so you must taste rice to judge doneness. Add remaining 1/3 cup of the herbs about halfway through cooking time.

  5. Stir in remaining 3 tablespoons butter, Parmesan, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour into prepared pan and cool completely. Refrigerate overnight.

  6. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Bake torta for about 30 minutes, or until heated through (test by inserting a knife into the center for 15 seconds and checking its temperature).

  7. Unmold torta carefully onto a plate, sprinkle additional grated Parmesan over top, slice into wedges, and serve.

Cook's Notes

It is essential that you use Italian short-grain rice; arborio is a widely available variety.

Related Articles