Supplí al Telefono – Recipe for Fried Roman Rice Balls
One of our favorite types of Roman street food to eat are Supplí al telefono, a type of fried rice ball that is very like the more widely known arancini, which hail from Sicily. Supplî are a perfect and hearty little snack, consisting of leftover risotto formed into an oblong ball, stuffed with cheese, and then breaded and fried.
You can find supplí throughout Rome in local “Pizza al taglio” bakeries (carry-out pizza establishments specializing in different types of large, rectangular pizzas that are sliced and sold by weight), as well as at “Tavaola calda” cafeterias. But, of course, you can also make them at home!
We love to make supplí for potlucks and dinner parties. They are hand-held and filling, and although they are delicious served hot (so that you get the long strings of melted cheese), they are also perfectly tasty served warm.
Supplí al telefono (Fried, Stuffed Roman Rice Balls)
Prep time: 60 minutes (plus cooling time)
Cook time: 8 minutes
Cook method: Fry
- 500 gr. risotto rice (arborio or carnaroli)
- 400 gr. tomato puree
- 120 gr parmigiano or pecorino
- 3 Tbsp. butter
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 150 gr. ground beef
- 60 gr. chicken livers, minced (optional)
- 200 gr. mozzarella, cut into cubes
- 2 eggs + 3 for breading the rice balls
- 1 Liter bone or meat broth (hot)
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 100 mL white wine
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Bread crumbs
- Nut or seed oil (such as peanut or safflower seed)
1. First make the sauce for the risotto. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat, then sauté the onion until soft but not browned. Add the chicken livers if you are using them and the ground beef. Sauté until the meat is browned, around 5-7 minutes. Add the wine, cook for 1-2 minutes, then add the tomato puree, salt and pepper to taste, and allow it to cook over medium-low heat until slightly thickened.
2. Add the rice to the sauce, mixing often. When the mixture gets dry, add some of the hot broth, a ladle at a time, until the rice is cooked (this should take 16-17 minutes). You will want the rice more compact than a normal risotto.
3. Add the butter and parmigiano or pecorino. Let cool for 10 minutes, then add 2 eggs. Mix thoroughly and spread on a plate to cool completely.
4. When the rice is cool, first wet your hands, then form the oval rice balls by putting a generous spoonful of rice in one hand, hollowing out the center to form a bowl shape, adding 2-3 cubes of cheese, and covering with additional rice to seal. It is important that the rice completely surround the cheese.
5. Once all the rice balls have been formed, heat the oil to at least 180 degrees in a large pot. While the oil is heating, dip each rice balls in beaten egg, then cover with bread crumbs, making sure each is well coated.
6. Fry the supplí, being careful not to crowd the pan, until golden brown on all sides. Drain on a paper towels and serve hot!
Try these other amazing recipes from the Lazio region:
By Peg Kern
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