This dish was something we used to eat all the time when we lived in Brooklyn, NY. I had never heard of them before then. These lovely baseball sized rice balls (and sometimes bite sized but that's another recipe!) with all the delightful sauce and Ricotta that makes them just amazing. I was in love!
Then when we moved to England for 4 years and so many of the things our family were used to eating were no longer available to us.
My mom gave me a really cool, old school Italian cookbook, and to our delight rice balls was in it! We simply made them the bigger size and Parmesan style!We were so happy to be able to make them not just for our family, but we also for friends.
I kept it secret for awhile, but no longer... this is really easy to have as a gluten free dish( substitute regular bread crumbs for gluten free crackers), or vegetarian too ( leave out the hamburger beef and substitute vegetable stock for the chicken)
Please leave me feed back everyone! I would love to have anyone who has had these dishes,
either when I have made them for you or when you do them yourself let me know how it went!!!
Serves 8 (But really easy to double this recipe!!)
1 box of Risotto rice
1/2 bottle of white wine
3 cups of chicken stock
1 large white onion, minced finely
1/2 cup of butter
2 Tbsp of olive oil
2 cups grated parmesan cheese
3 cups of frying oil
2 cups of fine bread crumbs
8 oz mozzarella cheese cut into slices and 20 1/2 inch cubes
1 Can of jar sauce (or see an easy recipe for homemade sauce under 'Chicken Parmesan a la Matthew')
1 cup cooked ground beef
12 oz ricotta cheese
1/4 cup cooked peas
*Melt 1/4 cup of the butter and olive oil in a large pan on medium heat
*Add the minced onion and stir until soft and transparent
*Add your box of Risotto rice and gently stir into the butter and onion, coating the rice with the mixture
* Add the other 1/4 cup of butter to the pan and let it melt.. be careful not to burn the rice, it should only go a bit golden
*Slowly add the chicken broth and white wine, alternating each. Add like 1/2 a cup at a time, and stir constantly
* Put Risotto in a dish to cool to room temperature (can be made up to a day ahead of time)
When mixture has cooled...
* Make your bread crumbs with 5 stale pieces of bread or put pre made bread crumbs into a bowl (large enough to roll your rice balls in)and season to taste with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning
( I used a food processor for mine )
* Next take your rice, bread crumbs, hamburger, peas and cubed mozzarella to a table with space to move to begin putting the Rice Balls together
It is a family affair this rice ball making! Matt is making bite sized version here..not baseball size so don't be confused!
* Next take the same amount of risotto and place on the top and start rolling the ball together in your palms
*Then roll the ball into the bread crumbs, proceed this way until you run out of risotto, should make about 12 to 15 baseball sized balls
* Turn oven on to 375 degrees
* Heat up frying oil (I use a wok)
* When the oil is hot enough, (test it by putting a bread crumb in and if it dances its ready) add one rice ball at a time, (don't crowd them!) and cook until golden brown
* Remove with a slotted wooden spoon and place on a plate lined with paper towel to absorb extra grease
* Place the rice balls into an oven safe baking dish and make an x on the top of them, careful not to cut to far down, maybe 1/3 of the way so they are still in a ball shape, do to all of them
* Add about 1 Tbsp of fresh ricotta cheese to each
* Add a generous scoop of sauce to each
* Add a slice of mozzarella to each
* Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until bubbly and brown
* I serve this with a small mixed basic salad
Extra rice balls can be frozen when cooled from the frying and then when defrosted the day ahead and prepared to bake as stated above, so if you have the time, make a double batch!!! Great to have for a day you can't be to bothered but want something extra yummy!!
Wine Suggestion- Alto Adige Muller Thurgau