Timballo di Riso e Carciofi

Rice and Artichoke Timbale


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves

    4 to 6

Appears in

The Italian Regional Cookbook

The Italian Regional Cookbook

By Valentina Harris

Published 2017

  • About

This rather elegant dish is a recipe I discovered in Puglia, though I suspect its origins are possibly Sicilian. Either way, it is very simple to make, although the longest preparation is doubtless the rather tedious preparation of the artichokes themselves. They need to be stripped right back, leaf by leaf, and then carefully trimmed down to the bases, removing every trace of the furry choke itself.


  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 12 medium artichokes
  • 75 ml/5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1garlic clove
  • 175 ml/6 fl oz/¾ cup dry white wine
  • 350 g/12 oz/1⅔ cups arborio rice
  • 2sachets powdered saffron or 1 pinch saffron threads, soaked in 45 ml/3 tbsp hot water
  • 200 g/7 oz thick-cut prosciutto crudo, cubed
  • 2 eggs
  • 100 g/3 ½ oz/scant 1 cup grated pecorino cheese
  • sea salt and ground black pepper

For the Besciamella (Béchamel) Sauce

  • 75 g/3 oz/6 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 50 ml/4 tbsp plain/all-purpose flour
  • 600 ml/1 pint/2 ½ cups milk
  • pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • pinch of sea salt


  1. To make the besciamella sauce, melt the butter in a pan and stir in the flour until a yellow paste forms. Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly to prevent lumps forming. Stir in the nutmeg and salt to taste and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

  2. Remove the pan from the heat and cover the surface of the sauce with a little cold water to prevent a skin from forming. Set aside.

  3. Fill a bowl with water and add the lemon juice. Clean and trim the artichokes and wash them in the acidulated water, then thinly slice.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the garlic. Fry for about 3 minutes, then add the sliced artichokes and fry for 5 minutes, turning them as they cook.
  5. Add the wine and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for about 30 minutes, adding water as necessary if the artichokes appear to be drying out too much. They need to become very soft.
  6. Meanwhile, bring a pan of lightly salted water to the boil. Add the rice. Cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes, then add the saffron. Cook for a further 2 minutes or so, until the rice is just tender. Drain the rice and spread it out in a large bowl to cool. Stir in the ham, eggs, cheese and sauce.

  7. Line a 1.5-litre/2½-pint baking dish with baking parchment. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Spoon the rice and the artichokes in even layers in the baking dish, finishing with a layer of the rice. Level the surface and bake for about 30 minutes, allow to stand for 5 minutes and then serve straight from the dish.

  8. Or alternatively, cover the sides of a lightly greased ovenproof mould with two-thirds of the rice and spoon all the artichokes into the centre. Use the remaining rice to seal the top and then level the surface with the back of a spoon. Bake as above, then turn it out of the mould to serve.