Baked rice (ross il forn) is one dish we had often when I was growing up and I think one of the Maltese dishes we cooked most. I don’t know where this dish originates from but whoever had the idea to bake rice in a tomato and meat sauce was on to a winner.
We just used beef mince this time but you can use pork mince or a combination of the two. It is up to you. Another thing we added in our baked rice (ross il forn) that is worth a mention is curry spice. It is just one of those spices that seem to give the dish an added oomph. We can add it to other dishes too if we feel like it, including rabbit stew and pastizzi with pea fillings.
My mum (Theodora and Aurelia’s nunna) is still here and so I have to give her credit for the baked rice (ross il forn) recipe. It is how I have always made it too. Another variation of making this baked rice is to not par boil the rice first. You just mix the meat sauce with all the other uncooked ingredients (cheese, eggs, and rice) and bake in the oven. It takes longer and that is how my nunna used to make it. Either way, it works out.
It is a great meal if you are really hungry, have been doing lots of exercise and need to refuel your body, or if you have accidentally skipped a meal and need a big pick me up. On the farm it was a great choice, especially for my dad who was busy working up an appetite! Baked rice (ross il forn) is an easy dish to make anywhere in the world including London as the ingredients are easily found anywhere.
Baked rice (ross il forn) can be eaten cold or warm!
- 2½ cups long grain rice
- 500g beef or pork mince (or a combination of the two)
- 1 onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic diced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 1 courgette diced
- 1 can chopped tomatoes
- 1 350 gram jar passata
- 1½ cups water
- 1½ cups grated cheddar cheese (1/2 cup is to be left aside to place on top of the dish before baking)
- ½ cup grated parmasen cheese
- 4 eggs lightly beaten
- Olive oil for frying
- Par boil rice by filling a medium pot with water ¾ of the way and boil. Add rice and reduce water to simmer for 15 minutes.
- Drain rice and set aside.
- Fry 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large frying pan and add mince. Fry for 5 minutes and then add tomato paste and curry powder. Fry for a further five minutes or until meat is browned. Remove fried meat and set aside.
- In the same pan add 1 tablespoon olive oil and fry onion and garlic on medium heat for five minutes.
- Add courgette and fry for a further five minutes.
- Add back the meat and add the chopped tomatoes, and passata.
- Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for fifteen minutes.
- Once completed preheat oven to 220oC.
- Add rice, cheese (leave some cheddar cheese aside to place on top) and eggs to the meat and tomato sauce mixture.
- Add the mixture in a medium sized baking dish plus the 1½ cups water too.
- Place the remaining ½ cup of cheddar on top.
- Reduce the oven to 180oC and place the dish in the oven.
- Cook for 30 minutes or until crispy around the edges.