Oh what I wouldn’t give for a doughnut.
And I am talking about a REAL doughnut. Not a bready, lightly sugared ciambella attempting to pass itself off as a doughnut. No, I am talking about a full on, deep fried, drenched in glaze real life AMERICAN doughnut. What can I say? The Italians just can’t do the doughnut justice. Their ciambella is WAY too delicate. Italians cannot appreciate the art of deep frying and sugar the way Americans can. (And yes – – there is an art to it. If anyone has ever had a melt in your mouth Shipley’s doughnut they will know what I am talking about here.)
So why am I going on and on and on about my cherished American donuts? Well, because I miss specific foods from America, and Texas as well. The good news is I have learned how to make a lot of the things I used to take for granted (apple pie, hash browns, etc…). But the same was true for hubby when we were living in Texas. One of his big cravings were suppli’. Suppli’ are found in Rome and are often served as an appetizer (especially with pizza) or eaten as snack. They are rice croquettes and are similar to the better known arancini, but are smaller and have an oval/egg shape as opposed to being round. Most of the suppli‘ I have eaten contain only the rice and a melted mozzarella center, although generally they will also contain meat and maybe even mushrooms.
Back to hubby. In an effort satisfy his craving and be a nice wife, I came up with this recipe. I just kind of guessed at how they were made, so I am sure if there are any Romans out there reading this, they will put my “suppli’” right up there with my Italian “doughnut.” I have looked at other suppli‘ recipes and again, mine is a bit different, but, ok they made hubby happy and that was the initial intent, and they are always a hit at any party.
Often in Italy, these balls will often be made from leftover risotto and are said to be even more flavorful this way. Also, they can be made the day before and go straight from the fridge to frying. But I have to say, that neither of these two methods work very well for me because they always come out a little drier and I prefer a moist suppli‘. I am sure the Italians have some secret I am not aware of, but for the moment, this way works for me.
This is a basic recipe, but feel free to experiment. Mix it up by using other ingredients or even different cheeses for the center (it should be a cheese the melts well). I have included some preparation photos because unlike some of my other recipes that are laughably easy, I think the photos really help get across how to prepare these little guys.
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon of butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cups Arborio rice
4 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup tomato puree
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt to taste
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 ounces mozzarella cheese
For breading and frying:
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs seasoned to taste
oil for frying (peanut, canola, etc…)
1. Finley chop onion, and saute in olive oil and butter over medium heat.
2. When onion becomes translucent, add the rice, toasting until all the rice is coated in butter. (a few minutes).
3. Stir the broth into the rice mixture little by little until the broth is completely absorbed, making to sure to continuously stir the rice. (about 15 minutes).
4. Add tomato puree, paste and cream to rice mixture and continue cooking until rice is tender (about 5-10 minutes).
5. Mix in Parmesan cheese and stir rice well.
6. Pour the risotto out on a flat plate allowing it to cool.
7. Cut the mozzarella into 15 square pieces.
8. Beat the eggs in a small bowl.
9. Place flour onto a plate or piece of was paper.
10. Place breadcrumbs onto a plate or piece of wax paper. (If desired, season breadcrumbs with a little salt and even parsley to add some color.)
11. Take a spoonful of rice and make the form of an egg, leaving a cavity indentation. Place a piece of mozzarella in the cavity and completely close the cheese. Set aside and repeat with the rest of the rice.
12. Pass the rice balls through the flour first, then the beaten egg mixture and lastly the breadcrumbs. Set aside.
13. In a large saucepan, pour in enough oil to fill the pan about a third from the bottom. Heat oil over medium heat. When oil is hot begin frying the rice balls, turning them until all sides are golden brown (3-5 minutes). *Note: cheese in the center should be melted after cooking.
14. Remove from oil, drain on paper towels and serve. If you are not able to serve right away, you can heat them up in the oven or keep them in a low temperature oven to keep them from getting cold.