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Brandon Cook

Brandon Cook
Executive Chef of Culinary R&D
The Cheesecake Factory, Inc.


Italian Fried “Rice”

Recipe courtesy of Chef Brandon Cook
Sponsor: Barilla America

Servings: 2


  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 c all-purpose flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 1/2 c panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan
  • Course salt, as needed
  • 8 oz Barilla® Orzo
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 oz spicy soppressata, diced ½-in
  • 2 oz sofrito (see Chef Notes)
  • 1 shallot, sliced 1/8-in
  • 1 oz 1/8-in slices zucchini, quartered
  • 1 oz Sungold tomatoes
  • 2 large Calabrian chiles, sliced 1/8-in
  • 4 spears asparagus, blanched, stems sliced into 1/8-in coins, 1 ½-in tips reserved
  • 1/2 tsp colatura di alici or other fish sauce
  • 12 basil Leaves, torn
  • 1 chunk Grana Padano
  • Salt and pepper, as needed
  • 2 Tbsp pine nuts, toasted


  1. In simmering water, soft poach one of the eggs and shock it in ice water. Drain and pat dry.
  2. Beat the remaining egg with a splash of cold water. Season the panko with salt and pepper and the grated Parmesan.
  3. Bread the poached egg in the seasoned flour, beaten egg, and seasoned breadcrumbs. Deep-fry the egg at 350 degrees F for 45 to 60 seconds. It’s important that the egg is cold going into the fryer so that the yolk remains runny after frying. Remove the egg from the fryer to a paper towel-lined plate and season with a pinch of coarse salt.
  4. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil with added Parmesan rinds, if available, and cook the orzo until al dente. Drain.
  5. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil and heat until it begins to shimmer.
  6. Add the soppressata and sofrito to the pan, tossing to incorporate.
  7. Add the shallot, zucchini and tomatoes to the pan, stirring to incorporate. Continue to cook until the tomatoes begin to blister and shallots begin to caramelize.
  8. Add the chiles, asparagus and orzo to the pan, stirring and tossing to incorporate.
  9. Drizzle the colatura into the pan, add the torn basil and microplane an even layer of grana over the ingredients. Stir and toss to combine.
  10. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  11. Mound the fried pasta into a shallow bowl and sprinkle the reserved asparagus tips and toasted pine nuts all over.
  12. Top with the crispy poached egg and microplane more grana over the entire dish.
  13. Crack the egg and enjoy!


Have all your ingredients prepped and ready to go along with the crispy fried egg. Once you start cooking, the dish will come together very quickly!
For the sofrito, cook ¼-in dice of onions, celery and carrot until soft with two cloves of minced garlic, extra-virgin olive oil and ¼ cup of white wine.

Project Management: Summit F&B
Photography: Carlos Garcia // Food Styling: Peg Blackley & Bree Williams


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