Riso al Forno
Riso al Forno
Riso al forno is a baked rice dish that combines Arborio rice, green peas, and cheese with a meat sauce that's baked until golden and bubbly.


For the sauce

  • 2 tablespoons ( 28g) olive oil
  • 1 medium onion - diced
  • 5 cloves garlic - sliced
  • 2 or 3 small anchovy fillets - optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes - optional
  • 2 pounds (908g) ground chuck
  • 3 ounces tomato paste
  • 2 28-ounce cans plum tomatoes - hand crushed or blender pulsed
  • salt and pepper - to taste

For the riso al forno

  • 2 1/2 cups (500g) Arborio rice
  • 2 cups frozen peas - thawed (or microwaved for 2 minutes)
  • 2 cups (230g) scamorza - shredded
  • 1/4 packed cup basil leaves - chopped
  • 3/4 cup (70g) Pecorino Romano - grated


For the sauce

  1. Heat a large saucepan to medium-high heat with olive oil. Add the beef and cook until browned (about 7-10 minutes). Remove the meat to a plate, leaving 3-4 tablespoons of the fat in the pan.
  2. Turn the heat down to medium and add the onion. Saute until soft (5-7 minutes) then add the garlic and anchovy and cook for another 2 minutes more or until fragrant and the anchovy dissolves. Add the hot red pepper flakes and cook for another 30 seconds.
  3. Return the meat to the pan and add the tomato paste. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add the plum tomatoes and mix in to incorporate. Once the sauce starts bubbling, turn the heat down to a very low simmer.
  5. Cook for at least 20 minutes uncovered at a low simmer, stirring occasionally to avoid any sticking. Taste-test the sauce and adjust salt and pepper if required.

Assembling the riso al forno

  1. While the sauce is simmering parboil the rice in salted water for 8 minutes. Drain the rice and rinse under cold water. Mix the rice with the peas.
  2. Preheat oven to 375f and set the racks near the middle level.
  3. In a very large bowl combine the rice and peas with the sauce, reserving 3 cups of sauce for later. Also, mix in the basil, half of the scamorza cheese, and half of the pecorino.
  4. Coat a 9x13" baking dish with half of the remaining sauce. Pour the rice into the dish and top with the remaining sauce and cheese.
  5. Bake the rice for 30-35 minutes or until tender. For extra color broil for 1-2 more minutes but watch carefully! Wait at least 10-15 minutes before eating so that the rice settles.


Author, educator, musician, dancer and all around creative type. Founder of "The Happy Now" website and the online jewelry store "Silver and Sage".

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