Saturday, February 26, 2011

Rice Ball Torta (Rice Ball Cake)

You'll think it's your birthday when you make one of these cakes in deed! Made in a spring form pan, this is my take on my mothers fried rice balls. You could certainly make in a casserole too. This no fry recipe is healthier and lighter than the traditional Italian Arancini and will knock your socks off. This "cake" will bring out the "oooohs and aaaahs" in everyone at the table. In fact one bite will transport you back to a happy little place in time where you were tugging on you Nonna's apron for another hot rice ball. Trust me, you need more RICE BALLS in your life.

There are 2 parts to this recipe, the rice and the meat filling. For the filling you'll need:

Rice ball filling:
1/2 lb of ground turkey meat
1/4 lb sausage meat out of casing
1 medium white onion chopped
5 ozs frozen peas
8 ozs tomato sauce

Fry turkey chop meat, onion and sausage in a large skillet in 1/8 cup olive oil.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of ground pepper.
Cook until the meat is brown.
Add peas and 8 oz of jarred prepared tomato sauce, like a Prego (my mother would kill me if I didn't make my own).
Add a fist full of fresh basil(about 5 medium size leaves) chopped and remove from heat.

This filling will be good for 2 cakes. I make it as above and freeze the other serving in a plastic container so I can make another cake quick and easy. It will keep well in the freezer for 2 months.

For the rice mixture you'll need:

2 cups rice uncooked
1/2 cup Pecorino Romano grated cheese or Parmiggiano cheese
3 eggs
1/2 stick of butter softened plus extra butter to rub in pan
1 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
2 ozs of mozzarella cheese cubes or shredded

Cook rice in 4 cups water according to the instructions on the box.
Once cooked, allow rice to cool down slightly and place in mixing bowl. Add sauce. Rice should not be too hot when you add eggs and cheese, unless of course your in the mood for an omelet.
Add eggs, butter and grated cheese to rice and mix well.
In an 8 or 9 inch (I used 8 inch) spring form pan, rub butter on bottom and up sides.
Dust with breadcrumbs and set remaining crumbs aside for topping.
Put 1 inch thick coating of rice on bottom which is about 1 1/2 cups on bottom.
With a tablespoon, spoon heaping spoonfuls of rice around the edges of the pan working them up the sides of the pan until you have a base and sides to your cake.
Spoon in 2 cups or 16 oz of the meat filling pressing it down firmly.
Add the mozzarella on top of the filling.
Add 2 cups of the rice mixture on top and press it down firmly to create the top of the cake.
Rice should come up to the top of the pan, if needed add a little more rice to get it full.
Add a tablespoon of sauce to the top of the cake, using the back of the spoon to spread it out evenly.
Dust top of rice with 1 tbsp of breadcrumbs.

Bake in preheated oven at 400 degrees for 30 minutes uncovered.
Allow to set by letting the cake rest for 20 minutes after cooking.
Pop open spring form and run a knife along the edge to loosen the cake, if necessary before removing it out of the spring form.
Slice cake and serve to adoring fans!


The filling takes about 20 minutes to prepare which is why I make it as a double batch. Then you can make the rice mixture and just add your pre made filling for fresh Rice Ball Torta anytime you want... Even on a busy week night.

Using the 8 inch spring form pan will result in a little extra rice mixture, while the 9 inch will use all the rice mixture.

Instead of the spring form pan, try using the Perfect Brownie Pan. It makes 18 individual little rice ball appetizers. It's super cute! Simply dust bottom with bread crumbs, put in rice, filling, rice. Then push in the grid bar to create the little individual cakes. Cook that for 20 minutes since it's not as thick.


  1. This is on my menu this week! Can't wait to try it!!

  2. Hi steph, look out for the pics. I will post them tonight. It's so pretty, it's almost a shame to eat it!!

  3. WOW - that is very impressive! Can't wait to try it.

  4. Julia, looks so pretty as a cake!!

  5. Oh my goodness My family loves it.

  6. Hi Julia! I want to make this for Mother's day, can I assemble on the saturday and then bake it on the Sunday morning?

  7. Hi Cristina, yes definately a great make ahead meal. I assembled mine friday night then took it out of the fridge sunday morning to get it up to room temp a bit, then baked it Easter Sunday. It was awesome and I had time to actually take a shower and get dressed before my guests got here!

  8. Looks delicious! We love this- what a fun twist. Can you freeze it already assembed? and if so would you cook it before you freeze or after?

  9. I've never frozen it assembled, but believe based on it's ingredients, it would freeze well. I have frozen the filling so the rice is no big deal to freeze. I would assemble it then freeze. After it's thawed bake it so its fresh. That's the way to do it

  10. Do you drain the fat off the meat before you add the peas?

  11. Love this recipe. You make it look so easy. What kind of rice do you use ?


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