Sicilian Rice Balls


4 cups water
1¾ cup arborio rice
2 tsp garlic powder
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 eggs
2 cups shredded mozzarella
1 cup grated pecorino cheese
1 lb lean ground beef
1 cup peas
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups pureed canned San Marzano tomatoes
4 garlic cloves, rough chopped
3 Tbsp finely chopped onion
fresh basil
salt & pepper
For the coating:
approx. 1 cup flour
3 eggs, whisked
approx 2 cups Italian seasoned breadcrumbs {I add just a bit of grated cheese & chopped parsley}
vegetable oil for frying


Place the water, arborio rice, garlic powder and butter into a pot. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
Cook and continue to stir until the water is all absorbed and the rice is tender.
While the rice is cooking you can make the meat, pea and sauce component. In a saucepan, over medium low heat, add the olive oil, ground beef, onion and garlic. Cook until softened.
Add in the pureed tomato, peas, fresh basil and a little salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes and allow to reduce a little bit. Set aside.
Whisk the eggs in a small bowl. Add a small amount of the hot rice and stir. You want to slowly warm the eggs so they don't scramble.
Then go ahead and add the egg to the rice mixture, along with the grated pecorino, mozzarella & meat sauce. Stir until well combined. Allow to rest for 10 minutes so the arborio rice can soak up some of the sauce.
Scoop the mixture, using a cookie/ice cream scoop, onto a lined baking sheet. Pop into the refrigerator for about 30 minutes until completely cooled.
Set up your breading ingredients. Roll each into a ball then coat in flour, then the egg and finally into the breadcrumb.
Place back onto the baking sheet and continue coating all the rice balls.
Get a pot ready, filled with about 3-4 inches of vegetable oil, over medium high heat. The oil is ready when you carefully drop a pinch of breadcrumbs into the oil and bubbles immediately form around them and they rise to the top.
Carefully add a 3-6 rice balls to the pot {depending on the size of the pot} and cook until golden. It should take about 45 seconds to brown. Repeat with the remaining rice balls.


These are an absolute staple in an Italian kitchen and commonly found as a grab and go street food. Whats not to love here; creamy risotto with pecorino cheese, mozzarella cheese, ground beef, peas and tomato sauce all in a crispy perfect package.


Tuesday, August 18, 2015 - 5:35pm


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