I thought of this cheese baked rice when I was making a nice dirty rice recipe. This dish is a bit similar to my usual baked rice, which I cook with milk and butter then bake for a few minutes with heavy milk cream. Both baked rice dishes are best eaten with roast chicken or barbecued meat steak.
– 2 cups of white rice.
– 100 gm of grated parmesan cheese.
– 100 gm of grated cheddar cheese.
– 100 gm of mozzarella cheese.
– 1½ cup of heavy cooking cream.
– 4 ~ 5 cups of milk.
– 2 tbsp of all purpose flour “use 3 for a thicker sauce”
– ¼ tbsp of freshly ground pepper
– 1 tsp of freshly ground cardamom and Chinese cubeb, you may add 1 clove bud for a nice flavor.
– Before cooking the rice, prepare the cheesy béchamel sauce by frying 2 tbsp of flour in 2 tbsp of butter on low heat.
– After 3 minutes, slowly add 1½ cups of milk while whisking non-stop.
– Season with salt and ¼ tbsp of pepper then add half the amount of parmesan cheese.
– Cook on medium heat until the sauce boils then cook on low, with stirring, until the cheese melts and a thicker sauce forms. If the sauce is too thick, add the other ½ cup of milk.
– After the sauce is fully cooked, stir in the cooking cream and set the pan aside.
– Rinse the rice and drain it from water then melt 3 tbsp of butter in a suitable pan.
– Fry the rice on medium heat, to prevent burning the butter, until the rice takes light golden color, or at least all grains are well coated and no moisture is left.
– Add all remaining spices, season with salt and stir well to flavor the rice then add 2½ cups of milk.
– Cook the rice on high heat until the milk boils, then on medium heat until the amount is slightly reduced then cook on low heat for 15 minutes.
– During that time, check on rice and see if it needs more milk. This step is very important because if the rice doesn’t take enough amount of milk, it will not fully cook in the oven, so provide enough moisture at this stage.
– After the rice is cooked, bring a baking pan and spread the whole amount of rice in it.
– With a big spoon, sprinkle the béchamel sauce over the rice until you finish the amount then toss the rice with the spoon to distribute the sauce and cover the whole casserole.
– Cover the top with all remaining cheeses, after mixing them together in a separate plate with ½ cup of cooking cream, then bake the rice on the upper oven wrack until the surface takes dark golden color.