Stefano Faita

Italian Rice balls with Tomato Sauce

By In The Kitchen With Stefano Faita


Rice Mixture
1/2 recipe of Risotto Milanese (cold)
1 egg
2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

Meat Filling
1/2 ounce dried mushrooms
2 tbsp. butter
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
3 to 4 ounces ground pork
1 ounce diced prosciutto
Pinch dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 to 2 tbsp. chicken stock
1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Tomato Sauce
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 garlic clove, sliced
1/2 (680ml) jar pureed tomatoes (passata)
1 tbsp. chopped basil

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
2 cups bread crumbs
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 to 3 ounces mozzarella cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Vegetable oil, as needed, for frying


Rice Mixture
Add cold leftover risotto to a bowl. Add egg and Parmesan cheese and stir to combine. Set aside. (Keep mixture cold so it is easier to work with.)

Meat Filling
Soak dried mushrooms in hot water for 20 minutes. Strain, reserving mushroom liquid. Finely chop the rehydrated mushrooms.

Heat butter in a skillet over medium low heat. Add onion and cook, until soft, about 3 to 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium high, add pork, prosciutto and chopped dried mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, until meat is golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add oregano and season with salt and pepper. Add the diced tomatoes, chicken stock and a few tbsp. of the reserved mushroom liquid. Cook until the liquid is evaporated, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in chopped parsley. Let cool completely.

Tomato Sauce
Add olive oil to saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic slices and fry until lightly golden, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce and simmer until flavours marry, about 15 minutes. Stir in fresh basil.

Set up a bread station: Add flour to the first bowl, beat eggs in the second and mix bread crumbs and salt and pepper in the third. Set aside.

Using your hands, take about 1/4 cup of rice mixture (a little bigger than the size of an egg) and form into a ball. Using your fingers, hollow out the centre to create a space for the meat filling and the cheese. Fill the centre of the rice ball with meat filling and then a mozzarella cube. Cover the filling with rice and roll into a ball. Repeat. Makes about 10 rice balls.

Dredge rice balls first in flour, then beaten eggs and lastly, roll in bread crumbs.

Meanwhile, in deep fryer or deep saucepan, pour enough oil to come about 3 to 4-inches up sides of pan. Heat to 365 degrees F. to 375 degrees F. over medium heat.

In batches, carefully add rice balls into hot oil. Fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to remove excess oil. Let rest for a few minutes. Serve with Tomato Sauce, if desired.

Yield: 10 servings.