Known as ARANCINI in Sicily and other parts of Italy and as Palle e Riso, this recipe is for Rice Balls their purest form. Just freshly cooked rice, eggs and Parmigiano. Of course, they also make a great use of leftover rice, and as always, can be filled as you like. Add a piece of fresh Mozzarella for a cheesy, gooey center or a dab of tomato sauce for some color. Salami, ground meat, peas, and other cheeses like Pecorino and Provolone would work equally as well.
1 ound Arborio Rice 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano or Pecorino Romano 1 1/2 cups fresh Mozzarella, finely chopped 5 large Eggs A packet of saffron, dissolved in 1 fl oz of hot water Breadcrumbs, toasted A fistful of polenta (cornmeal) Flour for dredging
SALT & BLACK PEPPER
Safflower or Corn oil for frying
Combine the chopped mozzarella and a fistful of the grated cheese, and set aside.
Boil the rice in lots of lightly salted water, until it reaches the al dente stage. Drain and transfer to a bowl. Let it cool for 10 minutes, then season it with the remaining cheese, 2 lightly beaten eggs, and the diluted saffron. Mix well and let the thick mixture cool some more.
To make a rice ball, take a heaping tablespoon of rice and flatten it out against the palm of your hand, cupping it to make a hollow. Fill the hollow with a tablespoon of the mozzarella mixture and cover the filling with a little more rice, shaping the ball into an orange. Roll it in flour and repeat the ball-making process, until all the rice is used up.
Beat the remaining 3 eggs, season with a pinch of salt, and dip the balls in them. Combine the cornmeal and breadcrumbs and roll the eggy balls in the mixture, coating them well. Fry the palle in hot oil, until golden. Drain well on a paper towel, and serve them hot with your basic tomato sauce for some serious dipping.