I had to make this to feed 400, when I worked for a production company in London. But it makes a great vegetarian main course for a much smaller number of people. Use any summery vegetables you like in the filling – we've tried grilled fennel, spinach and even the first leeks of the year. You don't have to eat it immediately; it tastes just as good at room temperature for a picnic.
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the vegetables
pinch of saffron
½ teaspoon ground fennel seeds
2 garlic cloves, crushed
pinch of chilli flakes
2 tablespoons drained tinned chopped tomatoes, or fresh peeled chopped tomatoes
300g risotto rice
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
splash of white wine or vermouth
1 litre hot vegetable or chicken stock
leaves from 1 bunch of basil, finely shredded
1 aubergine, thinly sliced
2 courgettes, thinly sliced
butter, for the tin
125g mozzarella cheese, sliced
100g peeled red peppers, or piquillo peppers
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
In a large saucepan or sauté pan, cook the onion in the olive oil with the saffron for 10 minutes over a low heat. Add the fennel seeds, garlic and chilli and cook for another couple of minutes before adding the chopped tomatoes and rice. Increase the heat and cook for 5 minutes, simmering vigorously. Season well and add the wine. In a separate pan, bring the stock to a simmer.
Stir the rice well and start to add the hot stock a ladle at a time over a medium heat, adding more only when the last addition has been absorbed, but before the rice starts to stick. When the majority of the liquid has been used, check the texture of the rice (it should be almost cooked but still have a little bite to it). Check the seasoning, add the basil, stir and allow to cool.
Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4.
Toss the aubergine and courgette slices in a little olive oil, season and grill on a hot griddle pan or barbecue until there are char lines visible and the vegetables are soft to the touch. Butter a terrine or loaf tin and line the base with a strip of baking parchment.
Press one-third of the cooled rice into the bottom of the mould, then layer on half the courgettes, aubergine, mozzarella and red peppers. Sprinkle with the Parmesan. Repeat, then finish with a final layer of rice.
Place in the oven for about 30 minutes, until golden brown on top. Remove and run around the edge with a knife before turning out on to a warmed serving dish.
Serve sliced, either hot or cold.
• This recipe is taken from Everyday and Sunday: recipes from Riverford Farm (Fourth Estate, £25). Buy a copy for £20 from the Guardian bookshop