Baked Ham and Cheese Rice Casserole

Total Time
45mins
Prep 30 mins
Cook 15 mins

A simple, cheesy dish from Every Night Italian. The arborio rice gives this a lucious texture. I used grated mozzarella from a bag and it was just fine.

Ingredients Nutrition

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Fill a pot with 3 qts of water and bring to a boil; add rice and stir well.
  3. Cook covered for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until rice is cooked but still firm to the bite.
  4. Drain and transfer to a mixing bowl. Toss the rice with a bit of butter to prevent grains from sticking together.
  5. While the rice is cooking, make a bechamel sauce. Heat the milk till you can see steam rising (do not boil). Melt the 4 T butter in a heavy saucepan over medium low heat.
  6. Add the flour and whisk till smooth. Add the hot milk a few tablespoons at a time at first, whisking till mixture is smooth before adding more milk.
  7. It will likely be very thick at first, but will become thinner as you whisk in more milk. As it thins, you can mix in more milk at a time.
  8. Cook, whisking constantly over medium low heat till sauce thickly coats the whisk. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.
  9. Pour the bechamel sauce over the rice, reserving a few spoonfuls for the top of the casserole. Add the ham and all but 2 T of the parmigiano-reggiano.
  10. Mix well and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  11. Butter the bottom and sides of a 2 1/2 qt baking dish that is about 3 1/2 inches deep.
  12. Pour in half the rice mixture. Slice the mozzarella about 1/8 inch thick and layer the slices over the rice.
  13. Add the remaining rice mixture and smooth the surface with a spoon.
  14. Spread the remaining bechamel over the top and sprinkle with the remaining 2 T parmegiano-reggiano.
  15. Bake for 15 minutes. If after 15 minutes, the top is not speckled with brown, place the casserole under the broiler for 1-2 minutes, or till top begins to brown.
  16. Remove from the oven and allow to settle for about 5 minutes before serving.