If you haven’t had cheese and rice combo before now, this recipe suggestion may sound weird and unappealing. I was a sceptic too until I tried it recently, but I was pleasantly surprised at the result! There are various ways of cooking cheesy rice, which is also called rice casserole, but this is an express version for those who are up for broadening their horizons at half the time.
3 portions of cooked rice (I used leftovers, 1 bowl= 1 portion)
½ onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 red chilli (optional), chopped
4 mushrooms, sliced
200g fresh prawns and squid, cleaned and cut into bit-size pieces
½ red pepper and ½ green pepper, diced
1 carrot, sliced
Salt and white pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup milk
1 cup grated mozzarella and cheddar cheese
Oregano, basil and garlic paste (or minced garlic) to taste
To make the sauce, fry butter and flour in a saucepan, stirring quickly over low heat. Whisk the mixture as you pour the milk in to avoid lumps. Turn the heat up to medium and bring it to boil before adding the cheeses, herbs and garlic paste. Simmer until the consistency (we don’t need very thick sauce for this dish) and taste is the sauce is to your liking, then remove from heat.
In a frying pan, sweat mushrooms and onion in generous amount of olive oil until the onion is transparent. Turn the heat to medium, and then add carrots, chillies, garlic and fry for two minutes before the peppers and rice go in. Stir well and season with salt and white pepper. Finally add the seafood and cook further for five minutes and remove from heat. Plate up the rice in a casserole or ovenproof dish and make a slight dent in the middle. Pour the cheese sauce over the rice and sprinkle some grated cheese over the top. Bake it at gas mark 5 (190°C) for 20 minutes or until the cheese is pleasantly browned. Garnish with chopped spring onion before dishing up. Serves 3-4 people.