In my younger days while still living at home Potatoes and Rice would usually be on the following weeks’ dinner menu when there was left over meat sauce from Sunday dinner. Not enough sauce left over for a full pasta meal but just enough to bring together a couple of totally different ingredients into a delicious comforting meal.
I would definitely classify this dish as a comfort food. Simple, everyday ingredients of rice and potatoes smothered in a delicious meat sauce ranks high on the scale of a very satisfying meal.
It was not until posting this recipe that I wondered how these two unlikely ingredients ended up in the same dish. I use potatoes or rice interchangeably as side dishes but hardly ever on the same plate since both fall into the starch category. I also wonder why the choice of celery but it seems to be the ingredient that enhances the overall taste.
I’m not sure if this recipe is exclusive to the region of Puglia, Italy where my mother comes from or if various other regions boast their own version of the same dish.
I am certain that my mother learned to make this dish from her mother as I did from her. Although I'm curious to know how far back this recipe goes I also wonder if it will survive in the vast world of more trendy recipes.
Whoever originated this recipe most likely did not attend culinary school but relied on culinary instinct to bring a few staple ingredients and a bowl of leftover meat sauce together for a delicious taste experience.
This is not to overlook the fact that it took care of dinner for the day!
Potatoes and Rice
The ingredient amounts listed are not exact and don’t really need to be. As long as there is enough sauce to mix in and coat the potatoes you are well on your way to success.
The amounts listed below make approximately three to four servings.
5 to 6 medium potatoes (Yukon Gold variety are a good choice)
1 to 2 stalks fresh celery (add in the leaves for stronger flavor)
1 ½ cups tomato meat sauce (approximately)
Salt and pepper to taste
About 1 cup water
1/2 cup uncooked rice
- Peel and dice potatoes (about 3/4 inch dice)
- Cut celery stalks lengthwise into thin strips then finely chop.
- Place sauce into a saucepan and bring up to a simmer then add potatoes and celery, salt and pepper.
- Mix everything together until well coated with sauce then add water just enough to cover the potatoes (water will help cook the potatoes and prevent the sauce from thickening too much).
- Cook on medium low heat until potatoes are fork tender checking periodically for doneness. Addition of a little more water may be necessary if potatoes are not completely cooked and mixture is getting a little dry.
- Cook about ½ cup of your favourite rice, drain then mix into the potatoes.
Notes, Tips and Suggestions
- No leftover tomato meat sauce? Add a jar of your favourite purchased meat sauce available in most supermarkets.
- If possible use a saucepan that has a larger base. This helps the potatoes cook more evenly. If one is not available, give the pot a little stir partway through cooking to ensure that the potatoes cook evenly.
- This is your opportunity to cook a little extra rice and make a delicious frittata!