Combine rice and water in saucepan. Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and cook 8 minutes. (Rice will not be completely done.) Allow to cool slightly.
Combine ground meat, onion, pepper, garlic, and 1/4 cup tomato sauce. Pat mixture into a large deep dish pie dish or other deep round baking dish. Meat mixture should cover the bottom and come up the sides 1 1/2 inches like a pie shell.
If using sliced cheese, reserve 4 slices and dice remainder. Cut reserved slices into strips. If using shredded cheese, reserve about 1/2 cup for the top.
Combine parboiled rice, cheese, and remaining tomato sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Put rice mixture into meat shell. Top with reserved cheese – if using slices/strips, arrange like a lattice crust.
Place baking dish on a cookie sheet (it has a tendency to boil over) and bake for 1 hour at 350 °F.
Verify that the tomato sauce is safe for your needs.