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Vegetarian and French, practically a contradiction in terms! Well, I actually discovered, when I opened the newspaper to the food section this morning, that there actually are recipes like that out there! This is a recipe from La Zucca Magica in Nice, France. Brought to us by Mark Bittman, the minimalist. When I make this I will make lower fat substitutions, but I've printed it as published.
- Cook rice in vegetable broth, starting with one cup; add broth in stages, using about 3 cups total, until rice is barely tender. Reserve unused broth. Dissolve saffron in juice of 1 lemon. Add to rice, along with butter, parmesan, zest of one lemon, salt and pepper, to taste. Allow rice to cool a bit. Recipe can be made up to an hour in advance at this point, but do not refrigerate rice.
- Poach chard leaves in about 2 cups of remaining broth for about 30 seconds. Remove, drain in a dishcloth, and cut out hardest part of central stem. Reserve cooking broth.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. With wet hands form 6 balls of rice 2-3 inches across. Dig a hole in the ball and insert a piece of mozzarella. Wrap each ball in a chard leaf.
- Put balls in a close-fitting oven pan, with enough reserved broth to come about a half-inch up sides of balls; bake 15 minutes. Serve balls topped with a little more broth, more lemon zest, parmesan and olive oil.