Island Bites: Arroz Relleno (Puerto Rican Rice Casserole)
Arroz Relleno is traditional Puerto Rican dish. This "lasagna-like" dish uses rice instead of noodles. It's made with different meat fillings and cheeses. The cooked rice is also made with different flavors and ingredients. There is only one thing in common; the dish is made with layers of cooked rice filled with savory stewed meat. You can also find variations of this dish in other latin countries.
The flavors in the following Arroz Relleno recipe are non traditional. It is my italian twist on this wonderful latin dish. Buen provecho!
- 3 cups cooked rice, room temperature
- 8 oz ricotta cheese
- 5 garlic cloves, grated
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- 1 lb ground beef
- 8 oz basic marinara sauce
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 6 to 8 olives, chopped
- 8 oz parmesan cheese, grated
- 8 oz mozzarella cheese (or any cheese combination that you prefer), grated
- salt & pepper
- Mix cooked rice and (aprox 6oz) ricotta cheese, half of the grated garlic, parsley and 1/3 of the parmesan cheese. Set aside.
- Brown ground beef in a couple tablespoons of oil. Add onions, peppers and garlic. Cook for a couple of minutes. Add half of the marinara sauce, bay leaf, oregano, olives, salt and pepper. Cook at medium-low temperature for about 15 to 20 minutes. Let it cool for about 5 minutes. Mix in the rest of the ricotta cheese.
- Spread half of the rice mixture in a previously greased baking pan. Add the meat. Layer 1/3 of the parmesan cheese and half of the mozzarella. Cover with the rest of the rice. Top with the rest of the sauce. Sprinkle the rest of the cheeses.
- Bake covered at 375 for about 25 minutes. Then bake uncovered for 5 more minutes.
Recipes you may like:
- Island Bites: Arroz con cebolla y tocineta (Rice with Onions and Bacon)
Arroz con cebolla has become a very popular side dish in Puerto Rico. This rice is very simple and easy to prepare, yet really flavorful.
- Island Bites: Arroz con espinacas y almendras (Spinach Rice with Almonds)
Quick and easy healthy dish. It is a great vegetarian recipe too.
- Island Bites: Spicy Orange Glazed Chicken & Coconut Rice
An exotic twist to a classic combination.
- Island Bites: Pastelon de Papas (Potato Casserole)
Pastelon de papas is a traditional Puerto Rican dish. It is usually made with picadillo (ground beef seasoned with sofrito, olives and spices). This recipe is a lighter version, made with chicken.
- Island Bites: Pinon (Sweet Plantain Lasagna)
Piñon is a Puerto Rican dish made with friend sweet plantains and picadillo (seasoned ground meat).