Oven-Baked Rice with Aubergine and Mozzarella

Flinging in the oven rice may seem a bit weird – but just wait until you taste the result! The cheese melts, rice get more of a bite, and the top layer becomes crunchy… and what comes out of the oven is an entirely different, delicious dish.

To prepare this baked rice we have substituted the ragout sauce with a simpler aubergine and fresh tomatoes sauce, which makes the preparation lighter and suitable for a vegetarian diet. If you’re looking to prepare a scrumptious ragout sauce instead, read our article about the different kinds of ragout sauce the Italian cuisine has to offer: Ragout: That Very Italian Braised Meat Sauce with a French Name.

Have you thought about serving this baked rice as the first course of a lavish Sunday lunch? Perhaps your guest will enjoy some veal roast and baked potatoes as a second course!

Serves: 4 | Preparation time: 20 mins | Cooking time: 1 h

  • Carnaroli rice: 400 g

  • Mozzarella: 125 g

  • Tomato sauce: 80 g

  • Parmesan, grated: 50 g

  • Pecorino, grated: 50 g

  • Aubergines: 1

  • Onions, white: 1

  • Tomatoes: 4

  • Basil, fresh: 6 leaves

  • Garlic: 1 clove

  • Extra virgin olive oil: 3 tbsp

  • Breadcrumbs: as needed

  • Salt and pepper: to taste


Tip: Make sure to select only ripen, sweet tomatoes.

Dice the aubergine, the tomatoes and the mozzarella into small cubes. Finely chop the onion. Peel the garlic.

Heat up the oil in a pan and brown the the garlic and the onion. Add the aubergines and cook it over medium heat for about 5 minutes.

Tip: If the aubergine looks is a bit dry, add some water – but without exaggerating!

Add the tomatoes and the basil leaves to the aubergine and pour the tomato sauce into the pan. Season to taste, stir thoroughly and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Bring a pot of water to a boil, add the rice and a teaspoon of salt. Stir the rice, lower the heat and cook for 13 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Once the rice has cooked through, drain it and add it to the aubergine sauce. Sauté the rice and the sauce for a few minutes. Add about ⅔ of the parmesan and pecorino.

Grease the inside of a casserole dish with a bit of olive oil. Cover the bottom with breadcrumbs. Create a layer of rice, pressing it to the bottom with a wooden spoon. Sprinkle on top some mozzarella, parmesan and pecorino, then cover everything with another layer of rice. Proceed in this fashion until all the ingredients are used up.

Garnish the top layer with some olive oil and some breadcrumbs. Bake to 200°C for 25-30 minutes.

Let the baked rice cool a little before serving it.

This recipe was kindly written by mypinchofitaly.co.uk cooking experts.

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