Rice Balls

Total Time:
2 hr 55 min
Prep:
35 min
Inactive:
2 hr
Cook:
20 min

Yield:
Recipe courtesy Father Vince Bommerito
Level:
Intermediate

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup Italian rice
  • Pinch saffron, optional
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan, plus extra for garnish
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 pound ground lean beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 5 large fresh sweet basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 ounces tomato sauce
  • 2 1/2 cups boiling water, for rice, plus 1/2 cup water, for sauce
  • 1 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup frozen or fresh peas
  • 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 cups vegetable oil
Directions

Melt butter in a large pot, pour in uncooked rice and cook for 2 minutes. Add saffron, if using and pour in wine until wine evaporates. Begin stirring in boiling water until rice is tender. Cook rice uncovered. Add salt and pepper, to taste. When rice is cooked take off heat, mix in cheese and 2 eggs. Place in refrigerator, covered, for 2 hours or overnight. Rice must be chilled.

In a large frying pan over medium heat add oil, saute onions and the chopped garlic for 2 minutes, add in the beef and pork, and brown. Remove excess grease. Add in basil, tomato paste, tomato sauce , water, and sugar until it all becomes thick in texture. Add peas while still warm, take off heat and set aside. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

Take 2 tablespoons of the rice mixture, place in hand and form a small cup.

Place 1/2 teaspoon of the meat mixture to center of the rice cup, add 1 teaspoon of the rice over the meat mixture and roll in a ball. Roll the rice ball in the remaining eggs and then roll that into the bread crumbs. Heat vegetable oil to 360 degrees F. Deep-fry rice balls until browned, place on a paper towel lined plate or dish.

Before serving garnish with cheese and/or the extra sauce.

Home Cook Recipe: A viewer or guest of the show, who may not be a professional cook, provided this recipe. The Food Network Kitchen have not tested this recipe and therefore cannot make representation as to the results.


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    Delicious, unbelievable!
    First time trying this and it works perfectly during the new year's eve! Love it, very flavorful and greatly appetizing.
    This is such an awesome recipe! These rice balls are full of Italian flavor and are a nice change of pace from my "usual" dishes. Outstanding!!!!!
    good recipe , my personal twists include adding some roasted garlic paste , hot Italian sausage , fresh mozz balls , pesto (not all those together but one or two). actually cook the rice with a little more liquid than normal so the ball sticks together. my whole family is itlaian but no one had a solid recipe , i like to have all ingridents to be small dice. the other key is a giant bowl of homemade marinara to dip in!!!! when i make these for my friends there is never one left! great app.
    These rice balls are the bomb!! This was the first time I ever made rice balls, a little challenging but proud to say that they turned out beautifully and delicious! I was so proud!! From reading of other reviews I doubled the amount of the risotto, I still had some ragu left. These were fabulous!! Worth the work!
    My maternal grandparents were both from Palermo, Sicily. And this is pretty much to-the-letter of how I was taught to make them. We rolled them in egg white last, just before they went into the fryer. Other than that, it looks perfect.
    My mother's parents were from Sicily and an area that had a great deal of Greek influence. As you all know, the island was conquered and ruled by a variety of cultures over the centuries! The filling for her rice balls reflected those influences. It had the ground meat, onion & garlic, but also tiny cubes of salami, raisins & pine nuts! Definitely no peas or sugar! She did not make them often because of how time consuming they are, but we thought they were a fabulous treat whenever she did. I haven't tried this recipe so sounds like the proportion of rice to meat mixture does need to be increased. Thanks for this old fashioned version!
    I recently moved from new york to pennsylvania and none of the pizzarias here make rice balls, so, i decided to try to make them myself. these are fantastic. i made a whole bunch and froze them. my family loved them. Great recipe, thanks!!!
    These rice balls were very good, but I'm wondering if any of the previous reviewers actually used this recipe to make their riceballs?? This recipe has some imperfections.
     
     If you make this recipe to a 'T' you end up with 2-3 times the amount of meat vs rice. When forming/assembling the rice ball you use 2 T of rice and a 1/2 t of meat filling. The ratio doesn't add up.
     
     The other problem is frying in 360 degree oil seemed a little high. The rice ball browned very nicely but it was very fast. About 1 to 2 minutes depending on the size. The middle of the riceballs was luke-warm at best.
     
     Lastly, and this is just personal preferance, the Saffron... I could see how the Saffron would give it an enhanced flavor, but I suggest using very very little. Use a little pinch not a big pinch. I used brand vvwvv.mortonbassett.c0m. I used a 4th of the jar which is .0025 oz. I wish I would've used half of that. Again personal taste.
     
     The rice was very creamy the flavor of the rice ball was great.
     My I suggest...
      - Double or tripple the rice and liquid for rice.
      - Use .0025 oz safron
      - put in 350 oven for about 10-20 minutes after frying
     
     This recipe is a good start to making great RiceBalls.
    My husband devoured them. I thought that they were fantastic... although, I certainly needed to make a lot more rice than it called for...
    I have been making rice balls for new years day for 35 years and the tip of refrigeration is a great newly discovered tip.
     
     Now the traditional rice balls can be made for new years day and this taste sensation can be made all year round.
     
     Make two batches it will be well worth the effort. They disappear very quickly.
    The best rice balls i have ever eaten, and simple to make for any good cook
    I first tasted rice balls in Italy and loved them. These are worth the time it takes to make them. Different if you want to surprise your guest.
    I used this recipe for it's basic ideas - the coating, the filling etc. But with my own variations, namely to use up some left overs. I found that left-over risotto works so well because of the natural 'sauce' that the rice makes. Once cooled this makes the rice so easy to form. What a great treat for lunch the day after a risotto dinner! Or try it even with mashed potatoes, which brought me right back to eating the potato balls (filled with just cheese) you can buy in the North End in Boston.
    ASIAN STICKY RICE WOULD BE FASTER.
    I've made these rice balls for family events quite a few times & they'realways a huge hit! Although they take a bit of time to make it's worth every bite. Coming from Brooklyn, NY (Home of the best pizzeria's & rice balls) I can honestly say they taste better & have more flavor than any NY riceball I've eaten in 15 years!
     
     Enjoy!
    A taste of home. Outstanding and simple with an abundance of flavor.
    This recipe is very close to my grandmothers and reminds me of growing up, very good.
    This recipe does take time, but well worth it. Unable to find any specialty stores who had them already prepared, I figured I would give it a shot. I was able to find rice with saffron already added, saved me alot of money and it does make the riceballs. Do not leave it out. I also used a icecream scooper to make the rice balls. It was a big hit at family gathering. Wish I had made more.
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