What could be more inviting on a cold rainy evening? Something heartwarming and soupy with an equally warm buttery toast? Or something cheesy, warm and tummy satisfying golden brown baked rice straight from the oven?
My close friends know I have recently embarked on a gluten-free diet. It will be 4 weeks on Sat 10 Feb. Not so much to lose weight or anything but more to see if my bowels will improve. You see, I have had Crohn's disease for the longest of time. Since I was 18 and after 28 year later and countless steroids and other anti-inflammatory medicine which didn't work, I have decided to see if changes in diet can make a difference. After this one month, I have lost close to 1 kg (which is a bonus) but my bowels ...hmm..it seems better only slightly. You think its too soon to tell? I know I'm not allergic to wheat when I did a blood test years ago. Probably won't make a big difference when it concerns my bowels but I do feel lighter around my belly area. My clothes fit better and friends have noticed I seem to have better skin and lost a bit of weight. Yay me!
You know what I miss the most with this GF diet? Not the scones nor the cakes. It’s my breads. No more toasts with my milk tea when I frequent my favourite cafe Killineys @ Siglap. No more nutty fragrant breads with mushroom soup at Cedele. I tried GF breads - it tasted awful. Rather go without them! When I make sandwiches for my girls in the morning for their school lunches, I'm so tempted to tear a piece and pop it in. After all, no one is awake at home besides me in that crazy ungodly early 5am mornings. No one will know right? Soft on the inside but crusty on the outside bread...Sigh. But so far I have not given into my temptations. I'll perservere and see how it goes.
Anyway, since I can't eat pasta because of the durum wheat ( I have tried other types of pasta but it just didn't taste right!), I had to substitute pasta with rice in this recipe. You know how they say necessity is the mother of all inventions? So, I remembered the baked mushroom rice from Pastamania a restaurant I frequent. I decided to replicate it as best as I could based on my memory and my tastebuds. This is definitely one of those dishes that doesn't require much time or effort. So, give it a go and be surprised at its simplicity but yet at its deliciousness :)
Ingredients (for 2 as a main meal)
1 cup of uncooked rice
2 cups of vegetable broth
2 tbsps butter
2 tbsps olive oil
6-8 cloves garlic
1 tin (200gm) button mushrooms (Narcissus brand)
100gm baby spinach, washed
Salt & Pepper
2.5 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1/2 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
1) Preheat your oven to 180 deg C. Cook the rice with the veg broth as you would usually cook it. Keep aside once cooked.
2) Heat a skillet and melt the butter and add the olive oil. Add the minced garlic.
3) Fry for 2-3 mins, till light brown.
4) Add the mushrooms and fry a little. Note that they have already been boiled before being canned and therefore need minimum frying time.
5) Now add the washed spinach and cook till wilted. Add the seasonings. Switch off the fire and keep aside.
6) Mix the cheddar cheese with the cooked rice.
7) Butter the baking casserole you'll be using. Tip the cheese rice mix over into your baking casserole. I just got this gorgeous terracotta coloured Jamie Oliver's baking dish. I just had to use it for this post!
8) Mix the cooked spinach and mushrooms into this cheesy rice. Mix well. Check for seasonings and adjust accordingly.
9) Flatten it with back of the spoon.
10) Top it off with mozzarella cheese and bake in the middle shelf of your oven till golden brown roughly 30-40 mins.
Enjoy heartwarming Baked Cheesy Rice with the goodness of spinach and mushrooms.