Rainy Day Rice Timbales

Last week I had dinner with John Govoni and Dorothy Giarla. John made a beautiful rice timbale as a take off on the Panzanella salad we made in Tuscany last spring. When I posted the photo, my dear friend Valerie in CA said I had to send her the recipe. Of course, there really wasn't a recipe but since today was a rainy day and I couldn't work in the garden, I went to work on creating one. I hope John thinks I did justice to his rendition.

Before I could begin cooking, I had to make a trip to the hardware store where I bought 2" wide by 3" tall pvc piping for my shape. I bought 12 for under $5 but found out that I really only needed 1 or maybe 2 since I created a timbale, pushed it out on the plate and used the mold again for the next one. (I could see the need for more than one tube  if we were doing this  presentation  at an event with more than one chef in the kitchen.-but for less than $5 I can live with my over abundance.)

Rice Timbale

  • 2 Cups white rice , cooked in 4 C water
  • 3 fresh plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 small shallot or red onion, minced
  • ½ English cucumber, seeded and diced
  • ½ Cup fresh basil leaves, minced,plus garnish
  • ¼ Cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ Cup Olive Oil
  • ½ Cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • Balsamic glaze for decorating the plate or olive oil and balsamic vinegar


1. In a saucepan bring to a boil 2 Cups of rice and 4 cups of water.( If using Uncle Ben’s cover and simmer 20 minutes until tender If using Arborio rice do not cover and stir every few minutes to prevent sticking.) Let cool. slightly.

2.Combine diced tomato, cucumber, shallot or red onion and ½ C fresh chopped basil with cooked rice.Fold in parmesan cheese and garlic.

3.In a separate bowl mix red wine vinegar and olive oil. Stir into rice mixture until coated but not wet.

4.Pack the rice into timbale molds or pvc tubes open at both end. (I bought 2” wide by 3” tall pvc tubes for my recipe- a good hardware store will cut them to whatever length you want) Un mold onto serving plate and garnish the top with a sprig of basil.

5.To finish the look of the plate, drop five dots of balsamic glaze around the base of the rice timbale and drag a knife through to make a tear drop effect. 

Or squirt a ½ moon of olive oil on the plate and dot with balsamic vinegar .

This recipe is really just a launching point- think about turning it into a main course by adding diced shrimp or chicken to the basic recipe. 


Posted on June 5, 2016 .