Baked Rice with Pesto Sauce (& Spinach & Cheese & Basil & Herbs & Hot Dogs)

I finally know why baked dishes have such extensive names in recipe books. It is simply impossible to decide which ingredient is king.

Here, it is an intent on my part to create a Christmas-like dish, by using as many greens as I can, so that cheese aficionados like me can savour every bite without guilt.


  • Rice: 1/2 cup
  • Olive oil: 1 tsp
  • Frozen spinach: 2 tbsp, defrosted
  • Frozen mixed peas: 2 tbsp, defrosted
  • Hot dog: 1 stick, sliced
  • Green peppercorns: 1/2 tsp, crushed
  • Basil leaves: 10 pieces, torn into smaller pieces
  • Onions: 1/3 of a whole, chopped
  • Swiss Gruyere cheese: 50g, cubed
  • Black peppercorns: freshly grated, to taste
  • Parmesan cheese: 2 tsp
  • Basil pesto sauce: 1 1/2 tbsp
  • Nutmeg: a pinch
  • Cheddar cheese: 1 piece (I like Chesdale brand)
  • Paprika: for serving


  1. Microwave rice with olive oil for 20-25 min till cooked.
  2. Spoon through the rice once and microwave again for 5 min till the risotto is beginning to turn crispy.
  3. Leave rice aside to cool and preheat oven at 200 degrees.
  4. Place spinach, mixed peas & hot dogs into a 12cm (diameter) casserole.
  5. Add rice to mixture, followed by peppercorns, 8 basil leaves, 2/3 of chopped onions & Gruyere cheese.
  6. Add black peppercorns, 1 tsp Parmesan cheese, basil pesto sauce & nutmeg. Mix well.
  7. Place cheddar cheese slice on top of mixture. Top off with remaining onions, Parmesan cheese & basil leaves.
  8. Bake for 30 min.
  9. Sprinkle with paprika and serve hot.


  • Replace Gruyere cheese with mozzarella cheese for a cheaper alternative.
  • Replace risotto with plain rice for an even cheaper alternative.
  • Basil leaves must be torn for it to give off its fragrance.

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