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Ross il-Forn - Maltese Baked Rice

Ross il-forn is a traditional Maltese baked rice dish. The rice bake is made with a rich meat sauce finished with a crispy cheesy top.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr 45 mins
Total Time2 hrs
Course: dinner, lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: European, Maltese, Mediterranean
Keyword: meat sauce, Rice
Servings: 6

Ingredients

INGREDIENTS

  • 500 g rice long grain
  • 500 g pork minced meat or mixed
  • 400 ml tomato sauce passata
  • 1 small white onion diced
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste Maltese kunserva
  • 100 g peas canned or frozen
  • 1/2 tsp curry
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper extra for the top part
  • 2 eggs raw or boiled*
  • 125 ml milk
  • 50 g parmesan cheese or kefalotiri cheese grated

Instructions

  • In a large pan or pot, heat the olive oil and fry the onion for a few minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and let cook for another minute.
  • Add the thyme, oregano, rosemary, curry, cumin and paprika and mix well with the onion and garlic. Add the tomato paste and let it cook for about 3 minutes.
  • Once the base is ready, add the pork minced meat, let cook for a few minutes until you get a nice brown colour. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Lastly, add the tomato passata and the bay leaves. Bring to a light boil.
  • Once you bring it to a boil, cover the pot and let it simmer on low heat for about 1 hour, stirring it occasionally so that the meat doesn't get stuck to the bottom.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C or 350°F.
  • Wash the rice in cold water until the water is clear.
  • During the last half an hour, bring to a boil a pot filled with water. Once it starts to boil, season with salt. Add the rice and cook on low heat for about 5 minutes. The rice shouldn't be cooked all the way.
  • Once the sauce is done, don't forget to remove the bay leaves and discard.
  • Butter a baking dish. I used a glass dish with a volume of 3L. Set aside.
  • Mix the rice together with the sauce and peas.
  • In a separate small bowl mix together the raw eggs*, milk and half of the grated cheese and add it to the already mixed rice. Mix well.
  • Place the mixed rice in the dish and gently press it down to pack it in. Cover the top layer with the remaining grated cheese and sprinkle extra black pepper on top.
  • Bake the dish on the middle rack of your oven for about 45 minutes. During the last 10 minutes I like to place the dish on a higher rack so it gets crispier. However, this last step is optional.
  • Once ready, let it rest for a few minutes before slicing through so that the rice bake doesn't break completely.

Notes

*If you want to use boiled eggs in the mixture, boil them beforehand and have them ready by the time you’re ready to mix everything together.