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4.97 from 31 votes

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.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 25 minutes
Total Time1 hour 35 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Diet: Gluten Free
Servings: 8


For the sauce

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 5 cloves garlic sliced
  • 2 small anchovy fillets optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes optional
  • 2 pounds 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 Arborio rice
  • 2 cups frozen peas thawed
  • 2 cups scamorza shredded
  • 1/4 packed cup basil leaves chopped
  • 3/4 cup Pecorino Romano grated


For the sauce

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Return the meat to the pan and add the tomato paste. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Add the plum tomatoes and mix in to incorporate. Once the sauce starts bubbling, turn the heat down to a very low simmer.
  • 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

  • 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.
  • Preheat oven to 375f and set the racks near the middle level.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. Enjoy!



  • Makes 8 moderate-sized or 4-6 large portions.
  • Parboil the rice! The rice is just partially cooked and will be cooked until tender in the oven.
  • For extra color, broil for 1-2 minutes, but watch very carefully to avoid burning.
  • Leftovers can be saved in the fridge for up to 3 days.


Calories: 714kcal | Carbohydrates: 63.4g | Protein: 36.9g | Fat: 34.8g | Saturated Fat: 14.8g | Cholesterol: 109mg | Sodium: 384mg | Potassium: 670mg | Fiber: 4.8g | Sugar: 11.2g | Calcium: 304mg | Iron: 6mg