A Favorite Italian Appetizer Transformed into a Weeknight Meal

This recipe has been a great hit over at Skinnytaste! It has received lots of wonderful comments from readers – let’s take a look at what some of them have said about it:

I have made this twice now (once for home and once for a church event) and both got rave reviews. I altered it slightly with the church one (more people – made more of the meat filling as it was the main dish). So yummy!!!

OMG, this was so delicious! I don’t like sausage, and I don’t eat red meat so I substituted ground turkey for all the meat! I’m on WW, and this was so filling and yummy! I froze the rest in portions and then I take for lunch at work. I loved this! Thanks for sharing!


That’s right! This is the perfect dish for all of us trying to watch what we eat and perhaps even lose a pound or two!




2 cups uncooked long grain rice

1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt

1 (2.5 oz) sweet Italian sausage link, casing removed

10 oz (.65 lbs) 93% lean ground turkey

1/4 cup onion, minced

black pepper

5 oz frozen peas

2 cups homemade tomato sauce

1 large egg, 1 egg white

1/2 cup pecorino romano (or parmesan)

cooking spray

4 tbsp seasoned breadcrumbs, divided

1 1/4 cup shredded part skim mozzarella

fresh parsley or basil, if desired




Cook rice with 1 teaspoon salt according to package directions. Set aside to cool.

Sauté sausage meat; cook until brown breaking up into pieces with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Add turkey and onions, breaking up as it cooks. Season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and black pepper to taste, add peas and 1 cup sauce; simmer on low, covered, for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large bowl combine cooked rice, pecorino romano, eggs, and 1/2 cup tomato sauce. Mix well. Rice should be a little sticky.

Spray a 9 x 13 casserole dish with cooking spray, make sure to spray sides too. Add 2 tbsp breadcrumbs to the dish and spread to the bottom and sides.

Take about a half of the rice mixture and cover the bottom of the dish and up the sides; press to form the bottom layer. Fill with the meat and peas.

Top with 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese.

Then cover with remaining rice mixture and press until even.

Top with remaining sauce, remaining 2 tbsp breadcrumbs, and remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella.

Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes, until hot. Garnish with parsley or basil if desired, cut into 8 pieces and serve.






Quick Tip: Get this meal on the table quicker by cooking the rice and sauce ahead of time!

Thanks to Skinnytaste for this creative twist on a classic Sicilian appetizer!

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