Home Italy Revisited Bookshelf Plays About Mary Melfi Contact Us
X Italian Rice and Polenta Dishes
Rice and potatoes
Rice and Potatoes
Originated from: Casacalenda, Molise
Occasion: Any time
Contributed by: Mary Melfi (her mother's recipe)

Printer Friendly Version


2 cups Italian rice
3 medium potatoes
1 onion, chop
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped

Pot of water to boil potatoes
Pot of water to boil rice


o Bring two large pots of water to boil.

o Cook rice and potatoes in the two separate pots.

o Drain rice and potatoes.

o Meanwhile fry onion until a light golden color. Add garlic.

o Add potatoes. Fry until potatoes are golden.

o Add rice. Season. Toss.

o Serve warm.


Apparently, this way of doing rice was quite common in Casacalenda in the 1930s. The well-to-do served it as a side dish, the not so well-to-do, like my late maternal grandmother, Nonna Seppe, served it as the main dish. She often tossed the dish with tomato sauce. As far as I can remember my own mother never made this dish in Canada. When I asked her why, she said that when she was living in Italy they only ate food fit for pigs. So I gather this was one of the dishes she refused to make in Canada as it reminded her of how awful life was back in the old country. Actually, when my mother mentioned in passing that this is how her mother generally served rice, I was taken by surprise. I didn't think anyone would put rice and potatoes together (Lots of starch!) but as far as I can understand the combination was not that unusual. In some areas of the South they also combined spaghetti with potatoes, so I guess, in the 1930s, this style of cooking was rather popular. As a matter of fact the combination is quite tasty. It does have lots of carbohydrates, nonetheless it's surprisingly easy to eat.... Photo: Mary Melfi.

Back to main list