Some food scholars believe that, on its way to Italy from Asia, rice first stopped in Sicily. Risotto has since become more firmly established in the north, but Sicilian cooks have their own versions, such as this one.
The first stage of the dish consists of making a risotto with tomatoes and white wine. When done it is allowed to cool, then it is layered with fried eggplant, Parmesan, romano, and mozzarella and baked in the oven. It is a dense, richly savory dish, more like a country vegetable pie, a torta rustica, than a conventional risotto.
Serve as a single-course meal for lunch or an informal dinner. It is exceptionally suited to a hot buffet.
© 1986 Marcella Hazan estate. All rights reserved.