{Supplì Al Telefono} Tomato Basil Risotto Balls Recipe

{Supplì Al Telefono} Tomato Basil Risotto Balls Recipe

Inspired by Supplizio, Rome, Italy

{Supplì Al Telefono} Tomato Basil Risotto Balls Recipe | https://saltandwind.com When you travel to Italy, it's immediately evident: Roman street food is another level. From local favorites like porchetta, pinza, and trapizzinii&nbs...
Skill
Course
Cuisine
Ingredients
13
Hands-On Time
1 hour
Total Time
2 hours
Yield
25 to 30 suppli
Servings
15 to 30
Diet
Season
{Supplì Al Telefono} Tomato Basil Risotto Balls Recipe | https://saltandwind.com
Skill
Intermediate
Course
Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine
Italian
Ingredients
13
Hands-On Time
1 hour
Total Time
2 hours
Yield
25 to 30 suppli
Servings
15 to 30
Diet
Vegetarian
{Supplì Al Telefono} Tomato Basil Risotto Balls Recipe | https://saltandwind.com

When you travel to Italy, it's immediately evident: Roman street food is another level.

From local favorites like porchetta, pinza, and trapizzinii to well-known classics like pizza and gelato, you could go days just noshing solely on street food and be more than satisfied.

While we were filming the Rome episode of Off Menu we had a hard time deciding which of the many noteworthy foods we wanted to focus on. But the debate was off once we tried the suppli at Supplizio. As the name might suggest, this place specializes in serving the rice ball street snack known as supplì (pronounced "sue-plea").

Breaded Rice Croquettes Recipe

Suppli Versus Arancini

You may be thinking, "I've had fried risotto balls before but they were called arancini not suppli." Well, suppli are cousins to arancini in that they’re both deep-fried rice croquettes. But, like everything in Rome, suppli are bold and unique.

Arancini (pronounced "are-ahn-chee-nee" and meaning little oranges) are a classic Sicilian street food made with cooked short grain rice, combined with ingredients like the local caciocavallo cheese, breaded, and deep fried.. Arancini tends to be larger than suppli and formed in a round shape except near Mount Etna where they're conical form is an homage to the volcano. And arancini clock in about the size of a baseball.

Unlike the suppli, the arancini tend to have the rice sepearate from the ragu. The arancini rice is usually made like risotto but with a pinch of saffron and then the ragu or cheese is encased by the rice. Also, the ratio of filling to rice is such that the arancini can get to be 50/50 filling and rice. 

Also, the arancini are more ancient than the suppli as they are credited with having brought saffron and rice to the island in the 10th century and the snack came about when the working class would mix the rice with leftovers as a hearty snack.

By comparison, the suppli is said to have been introduced to Rome during the 19th century. It's believed they made suppli as a type of rice meatball, using the rice to add bulk to the meatballs when meat was in short supply. While suppli started as a snack sold by street vendors, it's known most commonly seen in friggitorie or small shops that specialize in selling fried food. Also, it is smaller and usually formed into an oblong "pill" shape like you see in the photo here. 

Suppli Al Telefono

The word "suppli" is unique and it's not totally clear where it comes from though some think it might be a variation on the french word for surprise. By contrast, the "al telefono" part is clearer in that it means “telephone-style.” That is in reference to when the suppli is stuffed with mozzarella cheese. As the suppli is fried the cheese becomes molten nad when the croquette is cracked open, a long string of cheese connects them like an old-fashioned telephone cord.

Assembly Of Roman Style Rice Croquettes

Tips For Making Risotto Balls

The suppli at Supplizio are by far the best I’ve ever had and, though owner Arcangelo (how great is that name, btw?) has all sort of amazing versions, I was partial to the classic tomato, basil, and mozzarella combination. These take a while to make but they are very much easy to make ahead (you can even fry them ahead and just warm them in a low oven before serving). There are a few tips that will help make them a success:

  • Give Yourself Plenty Of Time: This recipe requires make a tomato sauce followed by a risotto. Then, once that has cooled, you form the risotto into an oblong shape, stuff it with mozzarella and tomatoes, then bread it and finally fry it. Suffice it to say there is a lot of work and it will take you a few hours before you get to frying them so don't be in a rush. 
  • Don't Overstuff: Speaking of the filling, resist the urge to overstuff the suppli as it will only make forming them more difficult and, if they're really stuffed, the fillings may burst out the side as you fry them making for a mess.
  • Use Dampened Hands Or Plastic Gloves: When dealing with the risotto, it can be messy. We suggest using dampened hands or even putting on plastic gloves to form the croquettes to make it easier.
  • Make The Suppli As Compact As Is Reasonable: When you first form the croquettes, they may feel kind of loose that that is okay. As you bread them and the risotto cools, simply focus on making them more compact. Our suppli usually start out over three inches in length and end up abotu 2 1/2 to 3-inches in length and 2-inches wide by the time we've breaded them and compacted the shape. 
  • Form The Croquettes And Fry Them Later: Our advise is to form the croquettes and bread them and then fry them at a later time. Often we make the croquettes up to two days ahead of time and keep them covered in the refrigerator until we're ready to fry them. Resting the breaded croquettes also has the benefit of making the breading stick better. 
  • Have Everything Ready To Go Before You Fry: As with anytime you fry, make sure to have everything set up (the paper-towel-lined plate, the salt for garnish, etc) before you start so that you aren't scrambling and so you can concentrate on frying.
  • Or Fry Them Ahead And Rewarm Them: These can be made ahead! To do so, fry them up to one day ahead and store them refrigerated until ready to serve. Then warm them in a 250°F oven for about 15 minutes before serving.

Okay, now it's time to stock up your panty with all the Italian essential ingredients, then try your hand at making this and then share your creation with us by tagging @saltandwind and #swsociety on social!

Ingredients

Instructions

Make The Tomato Sauce Base: Heat 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. When it foams, add the onion, stir to coat, and cook until soft. Season with salt and pepper then add the tomatoes, reduce heat to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 15 to 20 minutes. 

Cook The Risotto: Stir in the rice then add the stock about 1/2 cup at a time. Cook like any other risotto, but only until it is just no longer chalky, about 15 minutes total.

Remove from stove and stir in the remaining butter, Parmigiano Reggiano, and basil, and mix well. 

Assemble The Suppli: Let the mixture cool for 5 minutes then stir in 4 of the beaten eggs until well incorporated. Turn the risotto mixture onto a rimmed baking sheet and spread it out evenly so it can cool down.

As soon as it is cool enough to touch, after about 15 minutes, divide the mixture into about 25 to 30 portions. Using wet hands or plastic gloves, form each portion into a compact ball like you would for making meatballs.

Then hold hte ball in one palm and using your opposite hand's thumb, make a hole in the middle of each ball. Add in 1 small piece of slow-roasted tomato and a piece of mozzarella and push down until it's in the middle of the risotto mixture. Push some of the risotto mixture on top of the filling so that the tomato and mozzarella are completely enclosed by risotto. 

Continue working to shape the suppli into the shape of a large oblong pill (see the photo for references). Repeat to form 30 suppli. Set the suppli on parchment paper or a silicone mat until they are all formed.

Tip

It will help to wash your hands frequently and keep them wet, in this way the rice will not stick to your fingers

Coat The Suppli: Once the 30 risotto balls are formed, they need to be breaded. To do so, place the remaining 4 eggs in a bowl and beat well. Put the breadcrumbs in a separate plate.

Dip each supplì in the egg then coat well with breadcrumbs and work to make the suppli into a more compact oblong pill shape. Repeat for all the suppli then re-dip them all again in both the egg and breadcrumbs for a double coating. Set the suppli on a cooling rack nested in a baking sheet and set in the refrigerator covered until ready to fry.

Tip

Suppli can be coated and made up to 2 days ahead. Store refrigerated in an airtight container until ready to use.

Fry The Suppli And Serve: To fry the suppli, line a large plate or baking sheet with paper towels and have salt nearby. Thenplace 2 inches of  oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium-high. Add a deep fat thermometer and heat to 375°F.

Gently place a few suppli in the heated oil (only add enough that they fiit in the frying pot without touching each other and the temperature doesn't drop below 350°F).

Deep fry the suppli, rolling them around with a slotted spoon, until deep golden, about 5 minutes. Remove them and put them on a plate lined with kitchen paper to drain the excess oil. Season immediately with a pinch of salt and repeat to fry all the arancini. Serve warm.

Tip

The suppli can be fried up to two days ahead of time then stored in the refrigreator until ready to serve. When you want to serve them, warm them in a 250°F oven until they're warm to the touch, about 15 minutes.

Footnotes

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https://saltandwind.com/recipes/450-suppli-al-telefono-mozzarella-tomato-basil-risotto-balls-recipe

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