Supplì (Fried Rice Balls)

Supplì (Fried Rice Balls)

Supplì are typical from my home town, Rome. They have some similarities with Arancine (from Sicily), but the main differences are that here the rice is very rich in flavor and the center is a soft treasure of melted mozzarella. They are smaller than Arancine and they are usually eaten as a starter in local Pizzerie. When I was a kid I also loved it as an afternoon after-school snack!

The original version is with tomato risotto and mozzarella, however a popular gourmet version is now “Cacio e Pepe” (in Italian it means“Cheese and Pepper”). You can find both of them below in their gluten free version. Start with one or, like I did, try both and invite your friends to vote the most delicious!

Ingredients TOMATO VERSION (8 servings)

  • 500 gr rice
  • 1 shallot
  • 500 gr tomato sauce (plain)
  • 5-6 basil leaves
  • 600 ml vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp parmesan cheese
  • Oil, Salt and Pepper to taste
10. Supplì - ingredienti pomodoro.jpg

Ingredients CACIO E PEPE VERSION (8 servings)

  • 500 gr rice
  • 800 ml vegetable stock
  • 100 gr pecorino cheese (use parmesan cheese if you cannot find it)
  • 10 gr black pepper
  • Salt to taste
10. Supplì - ingredienti cacio e pepe.jpg

Ingredients TO PREPARE THE RICE BALLS (8 servings)

  • 1 mozzarella
  • 100 gr maizena
  • 2 eggs
  • 150 gr bread crumbs
  • Seed oil to fry (peanut or sunflower suggested)
  1. Cook the rice first at least 2 hours before you need to prepare the rice balls because it needs to be totally cold. Top tip: prepare the rice the day before and store it in the fridge.
  2. For the TOMATO VERSION: Cook the chopped shallot in a little olive oil, until lightly golden. Pour in the tomato sauce and the basil leave. Cook for 20 minutes over low heat, adding the broth when needed. Remove the basil leaves, add the rice in the sauce and cook until ready. Turn off the heat, add the parmesan cheese, stir well and let it cool onto a cold plate or tray. The rice has to be more compact and drier than risotto. Store in the fridge if you prepare it long in advance.
  3. For the CHEESE AND PEPPER VERSION: Place 2 tbsp of olive oil in a pan and place over medium heat. Toast the rice for a couple of minutes (stir constantly) then add 3-4 ladlefuls of vegetable stock. Cook the rice until ready, adding broth if needed. Add the pecorino and pepper before turning the heat off. Stir well and let it cool down.
  4. When the rice is cold and sticky, get ready for the supplì preparation. Prepare 3 little bowls: the first with maizena, the second with the beaten eggs and the third with the bread crumbs. Cut the mozzarella into cubes. 
  5. Follow the same flow to prepare each supplì: 1) take a spoonful of rice and create the oval shape with your hands;  2) place a mozzarella cube in the middle, close the supplì well: 3) cover in maizena flour and make sure the oval it’s compact: 4) roll in the beaten eggs: 5) cover the whole supplì with the breadcrumbs and adjust the shape with your hands. 
  6. Heat the oil in a medium pan (it should be enough to completely cover the supplì). Fry 3-4 supplì at a time until brown (4-5 minutes approximately depending on the temperature).
  7. Serve while still hot, the mozzarella will be still soft when you open the supplì in half.
10. Supplì - fine 2.jpg

TIPS: If you want to store the supplì you have 2 options: you can either freeze them before frying them (you can keep them for a couple of weeks) or you can keep the fried supplì in a fridge for a day.

Have you tried it? Do you have any suggestions? Leave your comment