I made this delicious and rustic torta di riso with fresh spinach and leeks, but the recipe is a perfect catchall for those abundant summer vegetables. Things like eggplant, peppers, beans, and squash will all work beautifully. Just cut them kind of small, cook them tender, and let the rice, cheese, and eggs do the rest.

I also encourage the use of other cheeses with, or instead of the Parmigiano-Reggiano seen herein. Fontina would be a great choice, as would almost any other melty variety. You can also double the recipe and use a taller spring form pan, which will give you a taller and more authentic looking torta.

Speaking of authentic, this isn’t. Whether sweet or savory, these are usually done with some kind of crust, which I generally skip. It’s not like it’s bad with a crust, but it adds another step, and for me the payoff isn’t worth the extra time, work, and calories.

So, whether you’re making this to use up leftover rice and/or vegetable; or your playing the old “we’re having pie for dinner!” prank on your family, I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 3 cups chopped leeks, (2 large leeks, about 1 cup sautéed)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1-½ cups finely chopped cooked spinach, squeezed very dry
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • ¾ cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, or other delicious cheese, plus more to dust pan and top
  • 1 generous teaspoon fine salt, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch cayenne
  • pinch nutmeg


1. Sautée the leeks: Put oil in large skillet on medium heat, and add leeks and large pinch of salt. Stir & sauté until soft & sweet (5–10 minutes). Make a space in the center and add the garlic, then mix in & sauté for another minute. Turn off heat & reserve.
2. Put rice in a large bowl, and add spinach (if using frozen spinach, be sure to squeeze out all the water). Add leeks, beaten eggs, cheese, salt, pepper, cayenne, and nutmeg. Stir together thoroughly.
3. Grease pie dish with olive oil, and sprinkle some cheese inside. Add leek-rice mixture, and smooth it out. Dust the top with more cheese, and put in the center of a preheated 350˚ oven for 35–45 minutes, until the torta is lightly browned the outside and a little firm to the touch. Serve hot, warm, or cold.


Chef John


6 servings




European : Mediterranean : Italian