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Genoese Rice Torta

Posted by in Recipes


My mother's mother, Gertrude Molinelli McMahon was of Genoese (Northern Italy) decent- her parents were born there (in the town Bertone, where everyone's surname was Molinelli) and emigrated to the U.S. in the early 1900s. This torta (which they always pronounced "tortha" ) is not a cake but was often served as an appetizer (after being cut into squares) at holidays and other get togethers. It's fairly simple to make, healthy and delicious. Enjoy! 

Rice Torta - Serves 8-12. 

Butter 9 x 13" pan. Sprinkle Italian style bread crumbs up sides & bottom. 


1 1/2 cups uncooked long grain rice. (Arborio is best).

1/2 package frozen chopped spinach. (Fresh is even better- chop & drain after cooking).

1 8 oz. package cream cheese.

1 cup freshly grated parmesean.

2 onions, chopped.

1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped (optional).

Salt & pepper to taste.

5 eggs, reserve 1 yolk for top. 

Cook rice according to package directions. You can cook in chicken broth for added flavor. Saute onion in olive oil till golden. Cook spinach and chop, if necessary, drain. Add rice, onion & spinach in bowl. Add grated cheese & cream cheese, salt & pepper. Add eggs, except 1 yolk. Mix thoroughly. Put in pan, spread out flat. Brush egg yolk on top. Bake on 350 until golden, 20-25 minutes. Enjoy!

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  • Tom Campbell
    Tom Campbell Tuesday, 27 October 2015

    My Grandmother and Great Aunt, Fathers side were Molinelli's I don't remember the town,probably the same , they used to tell me stories of riding their donkeys around the town! My Dad said he was Genoese mom's side his fathers side was from Naples. My great Aunt Ida pronounced eeda used to make this and I could never get enough! Man this brings back great food memories!!

  • Catherine Parisi
    Catherine Parisi Tuesday, 27 December 2016

    My nana, Ida Pessagno, made a very similar recipe that she would bring as an appetizer for all important family events! Her family was from the Genoa area. The torte contained cooked rice, butter, olive oil, cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, and eggs. She would line the baking pan with bread crumbs, add the rice mixture and spread one beaten egg on top before baking it for about 1/2 hour. We always looked forward to it and savored the leftovers, if there were any. Now my sons make it every Christmas.

  • Catherine Parisi
    Catherine Parisi Tuesday, 25 April 2017

    Yes, we pronounced it the same way! Your recipe sounds delicious and is a bit healthier than mine. My recipe is very similar to yours, however minus the spinach. I might try it that way next time. I do use the spinach in our family recipe for ravioli though. My Nana's family came from Chiavari located on the coast between Cinque Terre and Genoa. Her grandparents were born in Chiavari and came to the US in the late 1800's. The recipe contains 2 cups of rice cooked in 5 cups of salted water. Then add 1 stick of butter, 1/4 cup olive oil, 8 oz. cream cheese, 1 cup Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and 5 eggs plus one for the top. She always put a good amount of pepper on top. She also lined the 9x13 baking dish with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and then coated it with plain bread crumbs. Bake for 25 minutes in a 350 degree oven and cut into parallelogram shaped pieces.

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