Tomato, olive and mozzarella rice


Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


    • Ready in

      55 min

Appears in

The Part-Time Vegetarian: Flexible Recipes to Go (Nearly) Meat-Free

The Part-Time Vegetarian

By Nicola Graimes

Published 2015

  • About

There’s a blend of cultures here with this paella-cum-risotto dish. It’s a great make-and-leave-to-do-its-own-thing kind of meal as the majority of the cooking is done in the oven. It’s ready when the tomato rice is tender and the mozzarella oozes into little puddles. I like to top it with spoonfuls of basil pesto or the Caper and Herb Oil or you could add some chorizo and prawns/shrimp.


  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 2 large onions, roughly chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 225 g/8 oz/heaped 1 cup paella rice
  • 185 ml/6 fl oz/¾ cup dry white wine (optional)
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée/paste
  • 400 g/14 oz can chopped tomatoes
  • 600 ml/21 fl oz/generous cups vegetable stock, plus extra if needed
  • 2 heaped tbsp oregano or thyme leaves
  • 1–2 tsp hot smoked paprika, to taste
  • 175 g/6 oz/ cups pitted black olives
  • 125 g/ oz mozzarella cheese, drained, patted dry and torn into large bitesize pieces
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 handfuls of rocket/arugula leaves and a good squeeze of lemon juice, to serve


  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based, ovenproof casserole pan over a medium-low heat and cook the onions, covered, for 5 minutes until soft but not coloured, stirring occasionally to prevent them sticking. Add the garlic and then the rice. Stir to coat the grains in the oil, then pour in the white wine, if using, and allow to bubble away for 3 minutes until reduced and there is no smell of alcohol.
  • Add the tomato purée/paste, chopped tomatoes and stock and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. Stir in the oregano, paprika and half the olives, then season with salt and pepper. Cover the pan with a lid or foil and bake for 20 minutes until the rice is just tender.
  • Remove from the oven, add a little extra stock if the rice looks too dry, then scatter the mozzarella over the top. Drizzle with a little extra oil and bake for a further 10 minutes, uncovered, or until the mozzarella has melted and is turning golden. Remove from the oven, cover, and leave to stand for 10 minutes. Serve topped with the rocket/arugula, the remaining olives, a drizzle of olive oil and a good squeeze of lemon juice.