World on your Plate: David Rocco’s Rice Cake

Celebrity Italian chef David Rocco, known for producing and hosting the television series David Rocco’s Dolce Vita among others, was in the country recently to explore Indian cuisines. He teamed up with Executive Chef Rajdeep Kapoor of ITC Maratha to understand the similarities in Indian and Italian cooking styles. Here, he shares one of his favourite recipes with us – a yummy, cheesy rice cake, which makes for great comfort food, or a wonderful addition to a potluck meal.

Serves: Four to six

500g rice, boiled

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

½ cup pancetta, cubed (or use unsmoked bacon)

½ cup salami, cubed

1 onion, chopped

250g fresh peas

1 egg

½ cup soft pecorino cheese, diced

½ cup parmigiano cheese, diced

½ cup scarmorza cheese, diced 

½ cup freshly grated parmigiano cheese

Salt and pepper to taste


1. Preheat oven to 4000 F.

2. Cook the rice until the al dente stage; it will finish cooking when you put it in the oven later. Allow to cool.

3. Heat half the olive oil in a saucepan. Add the pancetta, salami and onion and cook until golden and crispy.

4. Cook the peas in a pot of salted water for approximately two minutes or until soft. Add to the mixture in the pan and toss the ingredients together.

5. Transfer the rice to a large bowl. Add the egg, all the cheeses, salt and pepper and the mixture in the pan with all its juices to the rice
and mix thoroughly.

6. Grease a baking dish with the remaining olive oil and sprinkle some breadcrumbs on the base. Spread the mixture in the baking pan, packing it so it serves as a solid bed. Sprinkle some more breadcrumbs on top. Bake for 20 minutes or until rice cake is golden.



  • ‘Al dente’ means ‘to the teeth’ – pasta or rice that has a little bite to it; not completely cooked
  • Add broccoli for some colour