How to Prepare Ross il-Forn

26 January 2016

Spend any length of time in Malta, and you’re more than likely to come across Maltese baked rice.  Whether it’s served in a humble foil pan at a village pastizzeria or presented on a dish in a bistro, “ross il-forn” is readily available across the island.  Have you purchased a flight to Malta this month?  Winter provides more reasons to appreciate this filling and savoury dish.  Get the inside scoop behind a favourite Maltese tradition and learn how to bake some yourself!  

Some of the best meals involve simple ingredients.  For comfort food like baked rice, this is especially true.  Most ross il-forn recipes centre around minced meat, onions, tomatoes, salt, pepper, and grated cheese.  Naturally, there are numerous varieties in existence and just as many opinions about making a true classic.  Regardless, Maltese baked rice should be hearty and warm—perfect for winter.  


*500g rice
*500g minced pork (or combine it with beef)
*2 large onions, chopped finely 
*2 garlic cloves, diced
*200g of tomato paste (or 1 small can)
*400g of chopped tomatoes in juice (or 1 can—keep the juice, too)
*4 beaten eggs
*Grated Parmesan cheese
*1 cup of water
*salt and pepper
*1/2 tsp curry powder
*Vegetable oil (for frying)

Yield: serves 4-6 people



Oven setting: 180 degrees C

In a medium or large pan, add a little vegetable oil and heat the onions and garlic until they become transparent.  Then, add the minced pork and stir the ingredients together.  Cook until the meat browns.  At this stage, pour the chopped tomatoes and paste onto everything.  Stir.  Add water and gently simmer for an hour.  

Meanwhile, boil and simmer the rice according to the package’s instructions.  Drain the water and set the rice aside.  When the meat mixture is ready, combine everything together.  Add the beaten eggs and remaining ingredients.  Stir. 

Get a large casserole dish (oven proof) and lightly grease the sides and bottom with butter or cooking spray.  Pour the entire mixture into it and top everything with a generous coating of cheese.  




Bake for 75 minutes or until hot and bubbling.  Oven times vary. 
Serve hot.  Ross il-forn also makes excellent left overs and tastes delicious when cold, too. 

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