From the Kitchen of: Vittoria Pitadella

Riso Al Forno


I first met Vittoria last Fall. Her husband, Giuseppe, is the pastor of a small church here in Belpasso called “Shalom.” They have two girls, MaryBeth and Kimberly (In case you are wondering, no, their girl’s names are not Italian. Vittoria happens to love all things American, so much so, she and Giuseppe gave both of their girls American names!). Stephanie and I are both thoroughly enjoying getting to know Vittoria and her family.

I first tried this dish at a potluck while I was here in Sicily last year. After the second bite, I began asking around to find out what it was called and who brought it. As it turned out, Vittoria was the one who made it.

I know I had seconds.

I may have had thirds…

My last night in Sicily before I had to return to California, I had dinner with Vittoria and her family. She remembered how much I liked this dish and made it for me again. I was recently at her house and was finally able to pin her down for the recipe to share with you here.

“Forno” means “oven” in Italian. If you read the post “From the Kitchen of: Fabio Coco” from last year, the name of this dish may ring a bell. Fabio’s dish I shared with you was, “Pasta al Forno.” Riso al Forno is essentially the same dish only replacing the pasta with rice and the layer of béchamel with hard-boiled egg. Both dishes are, “delizioso!”

This recipe makes one 9×13 pan.


300g/10.5oz arborio rice

1.5 liters or (2) 700g bottles of tomato sauce (purée) or “passta di pomodoro”

300g/10.5oz ground pork

300g/10.5oz ground beef

5 eggs, boiled

200g prosciutto cotto (I think Whole foods, Trader Joe’s, Oliver’s or most any Italian deli should carry this)

500g/18oz mozzarella cheese, shredded

200g/7oz grated parmesan cheese

1 small onion, finely chopped

olive oil

salt (to taste)


  1. In a frying pan, heat olive oil and sauté chopped onions. Then add ground meat. When the meat is mostly cooked, add tomato purée and salt. Put lid on pan and let simmer on low heat. Meanwhile…
  2. Cook rice.
  3. Boil eggs. Once they have cooled, remove shells and cut into small pieces.
  4. Grate parmesan cheese & shred mozzarella
  5. When the rice is done, place in a large bowl and add meat/tomato sauce. Mix well.
  6. Spread a thin layer of the rice mixture into the bottom of the 9×13 pan. Cover layer of rice with shredded mozzarella, slices of prosciutto, hard-boiled egg and grated parmesan cheese. Repeat layers two or three times.
  7. The last layer should be an extra-thick layer of the grated parmesan cheese.
  8. Place pan in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees. Cook until parmesan layer on top has melted into a moderately crunchy crust.
  9. Serve & enjoy!

Buon Appetito!




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