Bomba di Riso (Rice Bomb)

5 hours


Meat sauce

  • 400g of veal, (not too fatty), diced in 2-3cm cubes
  • 300g of pork loin, or shoulder, diced in 2-3cm cubes
  • 200g of beef, thinly sliced, diced in 2-3cm cubes
  • 30g of butter
  • 1 chicken breast, diced in 2-3cm cubes
  • 2 sausages, sliced in 1.5cm rounds
  • 2 celery sticks, finely diced
  • 2 carrots, finely diced
  • 125ml of dry white wine
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 shallot
  • sea salt
  • 1 vegetable stock cube, optional
  • tomato purée
  • 20g of cep mushrooms, dried

Assembling the bomba

  • 1kg carnaroli risotto rice
  • 400g of Parmesan, (24-month), finely grated
  • 150g of breadcrumbs
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 vegetable stock
  • olive oil
  • freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
  • sea salt


To begin, put a medium saucepan over medium-low heat and add a good drizzle of olive oil. Peel the shallot and slice thin rounds straight into the saucepan (this method retains all the shallot's juices)
When shallot has softened, about ten minutes, add the white wine, about 300ml water, 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, a stock cube if you don't think your meat will be flavoursome enough and the diced meat
Simmer gently until the meat has started to absorb the water and wine. Add the finely diced carrots and celery, and a good squeeze of tomato purée and stir to combine
Leave to cook, covered, over a very low heat for 2-3 hours, until the meat is very tender and has released all its water
When the meat is nearly ready, add the dried cep mushrooms to a small bowl and rehydrate in boiling water for about 20 minutes. When the mushrooms are soft, squeeze out any excess water and add them to the meat sauce. The sauce should be quite liquidy when finished – there should be enough water left in the sauce to finish cooking the al dente rice as it bakes in the oven
When the meat has finished cooking, turn off the heat, add the butter and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning, adding more sea salt if necessary, and set aside
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
To bake the bomba di riso you will need a large, heavy, deep pan – about 25cm wide and 20cm deep
Coat the inside of the pan very generously with olive oil and sprinkle in the breadcrumbs
Cover the insides of the pan with a thick layer of breadcrumbs, turning the pan to make sure every surface is evenly coated, gently tapping out any excess, and set aside
Break the eggs into a medium bowl and add about 300g Parmigiano Reggiano, about 10 scrapes of nutmeg (or more to taste) and a good pinch of salt. Blend everything together very well with a fork and set aside
Bring a large pan of water to the boil and crumble in the vegetable stock cube. When the water is boiling, add the rice and cook for about 10 minutes or until it is almost done, but still has some bite.
Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked rice to a large bowl, leaving the rice-cooking water still in the saucepan
Pour any excess liquid from the sauce into a large bowl – using a ladle or the saucepan lid to hold the meat or vegetables back as you tip in the liquid
Mix everything together well, if necessary adding a little rice-cooking water – the resulting mixture should be quite runny
Add the egg-cheese mixture and another 50g Parmigiano Reggiano. Taste the mixture for seasoning, adding more Parmigiano Reggiano as desired
Add about 3/4 of the rice mixture to the breadcrumbed pan, pressing the rice up the sides of the pan, leaving a deep well in the middle – there should be a thick layer of rice covering the bottom and sides, about 2/3 of the way up the pan. Scrape the cooked meat or vegetables into the well in the rice
Cover with the remaining rice mixture and smooth the top with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle over plenty of Parmigiano Reggiano and a couple of handfuls of the remaining breadcrumbs. Bake for 40-60 minutes, until the edges of the bomba have pulled away from the sides of the pan
Remove from the oven and run a knife around the sides of the bomba di riso to make sure it is loose
Cover the top with your serving plate and quickly (but carefully!) tip the whole thing over so the pan is upside down and the plate is on the bottom. Gently shake the pan to make sure the entire bomba di riso has loosened, then lift away
Serve thick slices of the bomba di riso, cut like a birthday cake, to rapturous applause