Sartù di riso (Neapolitan baked rice)

    4 hours 30 min

    This rich dish is traditional of Naples, where it's served for Christmas or any special meal. It is a baked rice with fried small meatballs, hard boiled eggs, mortadella sausage and mozzarella cheese. It requires some work but you can divide the prep over several days let it rest so the flavors will mix better.

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    Serves: 8 

    • For the meatballs
    • 250g beef mince
    • 100g grated Parmesan cheese
    • 1 egg
    • 200g crusty white bread, soaked in water
    • 1 sprig parsley, finely chopped
    • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
    • 1 dash white wine
    • salt and pepper, to taste
    • sunflower oil, for deep frying
    • For the baked rice
    • 500g Carnaroli or Arborio rice
    • 1L ready made tomato sauce (rather runny, not too thick)
    • 4 hard boiled eggs
    • 1 egg, lightly beaten
    • 1 knob butter
    • 1 handful breadcrumbs
    • 200g grated Parmesan cheese
    • 200g mozzarella cheese, cubed
    • 150g mortadella sausage, finely sliced

    Prep:1hr  ›  Cook:30min  ›  Extra time:3hr freezing  ›  Ready in:4hr30min 

      For the meatballs

    1. Place in a large bowl the mince and egg. Squeeze the bread, tear it in pieces, and add with the grated Parmesan cheese, parsley, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Mix everything adding a bit of white wine (not too much, the mixture needs to stay firm).
    2. Wet your hands and roll the mixture between your palms to make small meatballs, the size of a hazelnut. Heat the oil in a pan and deep fry the meatballs, a few at a time. Do not cook too long, they are cooked through and golden brown in a few minutes. Drain on kitchen paper.
    3. For the baked rice:

    4. Reheat the tomato sauce. Peel and slice the hard boiled eggs.
    5. Cook the rice in abundant salted water for half the time indicated on the package, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a colander and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain well.
    6. Transfer to a bowl and add butter, 2 ladles tomato sauce, 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan and the beaten egg. Mix well.
    7. Preheat the oven to 180 C / Gas 4.
    8. Grease a 33x22 baking dish with butter and sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Spread 2 ladles of tomato sauce on the bottom and add half of the rice. Cover with all the meatballs, mozzarella, mortadella, sliced hard boiled eggs and half of the grated Parmesan. Add some more tomato sauce.
    9. Cover with the remaining rice and add the remaining tomato sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan.
    10. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes. Grill the top during the last 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from oven, cover with aluminium foil and let stand until set, up to 2 hours. When it's time to serve pop it quickly in the oven if it needs reheating.

    Make ahead

    This baked rice is the ideal dish for a busy holiday meal simply because you actually have to prepare it in advance. In order for the ingredients to mix and gain flavor, make it the day before serving, cover in foil and let sit on the counter for a few hours, then refrigerate and reheat briefly before serving.

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