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Ross il-Forn (Maltese Baked Rice)

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Protein: 25.47g|Calories: 574.92kcal|Carbohydrates: 61.94g|Fat: 24.1g | 1 hour 10 minutes
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Ross il-forn, a traditional Maltese dish, embodies the essence of Mediterranean cuisine with its layers of pasta, rich meat sauce, and gooey cheese. This comforting baked dish, reminiscent of lasagna, offers a hearty and indulgent dining experience, perfect for gatherings and family meals alike.
ross il-forn baked rice
In Malta, “ross il-forn” is akin to ramen for Koreans, spaghetti for Italians, and fish and chips for the British—a beloved staple ingrained in Maltese culture. Each family boasts its own variation, typically featuring minced meat, onions, tomatoes, salt, pepper, and grated cheese. Preferences vary, from the choice of ground meat to the type of cheese and additional veggies added. Yet, the essence remains consistent—Maltese baked rice offers a hearty and comforting meal, especially cherished during winter. It’s a dish that embodies the warmth and richness of Maltese culinary tradition, enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.

Why you’ll like it

  • A comforting and satisfying meal experience for the whole family—kids love it too!
  • Ideal for cozy family dinners or festive gatherings, pleasing everyone.
  • Convenient for batch freezing, perfect for busy weekdays.
ross il-forn baked rice

Ross il-Forn Recipe (Maltese Baked Rice)

  • Gluten Free Recipes Icon
  • High Protein Recipes Icon
Servings 6 people
Calories 574.92
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Protein: 25.47g|Carbohydrates: 61.94g|Fat: 24.1g

Description

Ross il-forn, a traditional Maltese dish, embodies the essence of Mediterranean cuisine with its layers of pasta, rich meat sauce, and gooey cheese. This comforting baked dish, reminiscent of lasagna, offers a hearty and indulgent dining experience, perfect for gatherings and family meals alike.

Ingredients

  • 400 g long grain rice or basmati
  • 400 g ground beef (or pork/turkey mince)
  • 200 g ricotta
  • 3 eggs well beaten
  • 250 g tomato puree you can use fresh tomatoes
  • 1 white small onions chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon mild curry powder optional
  • 50 g parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste kunserva
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Instructions

  • Parboil the rice by bringing a medium pot of water to a boil, filling it three-quarters of the way. Add the rice and simmer for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  • In a large pan, add the olive oil and sauté the onion over medium heat for 5 minutes until softened.
  • Add the minced meat and fry for 10 minutes or until browned. Stir in the tomato paste and curry powder, cooking for an additional 5 minutes mixing the meat with the tomato paste.
  • Add the tomato puree together with the sugar and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes.
  • Add the ricotta together with the salt and pepper and mix well.
  • Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F).
  • Combine the cooked rice, most of the parmesan cheese (reserving some for topping), and 2 eggs.
  • Sprinkle the remaining parmesan cheese on top together with an egg.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C (350°F) and bake the dish for 30 minutes, or until crispy around the edges.

Tips and Tricks

  • Use a flavorful meat sauce with a blend of beef and pork for added depth. For a leaner option, choose turkey or chicken mince.
  • Cook the rice al dente to prevent it from becoming mushy during baking.
  • Allow the dish to rest for a few minutes after baking to set and make slicing easier.

Ingredient Substitutions and Variations

  • Substitute ground turkey or chicken for a lighter version.
  • Add layers of sliced vegetables such as eggplant or zucchini for extra texture and nutrition.
  • Experiment with different types of cheese like mozzarella, provolone, or pecorino romano for unique flavor profiles.

Storing and Make Ahead Instructions for Ross il-Form

  • Ross il-forn can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  • To make ahead, assemble the dish but refrain from baking. Cover tightly with foil and refrigerate. Bake when ready to serve.
  • Leftovers can be reheated in the oven or microwave until warmed through.

What to Serve with Ross il-Forn?

  • Serve Ross il-forn with a fresh green salad dressed in a light vinaigrette for a refreshing contrast.
  • Garlic bread or crusty Italian bread makes a delicious accompaniment for soaking up the savory sauce.
  • Pair with a glass of red wine, such as a Chianti or Sangiovese, to enhance the meal’s flavors and elevate the dining experience.

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