Recipe courtesy of Antonia Lofaso

Rice Balls with Bolognese Sauce, Peas, Mozzarella and Parmesan

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 hr 30 min (includes simmering and cooling times)
  • Active: 1 hr 45 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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Ingredients

Meat Sauce:

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 pound ground beef 

2 carrots, diced small 

2 stalks celery, diced small 

1/2 onion, diced small

3 tablespoons tomato paste 

4 cups red wine 

1 quart chicken stock 

1 bunch fresh rosemary 

1 1/2 cups fresh peas 

Tomato Sauce:

Two 28-ounce cans San Marzano tomatoes

6 cloves garlic, minced 

1 bunch fresh basil, chopped 

1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped 

Kosher salt

Breadcrumb Mixture:

One 8-ounce box panko breadcrumbs

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley 

Arborio Rice Balls:

4 cups arborio rice

4 eggs 

1 pound grated Locatelli cheese 

1 cup ricotta cheese

1 cup grated fresh mozzarella cheese

Peanut oil, for frying 

Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving

Chopped fresh parsley, for serving

Directions

  1. For the meat sauce: Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and cook until browned. Remove the ground beef to a plate with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  2. Add the carrots, celery, onion and tomato paste to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes. Then, add the cooked ground beef and red wine. Cook for another 10 minutes. Add the chicken stock and rosemary, bring to a simmer until the sauce has reduced, about 45 minutes. Fold in the peas.
  3. For the tomato sauce: Blend the tomatoes in a blender or food processor. Add the tomatoes and garlic to a large pot. Tie the basil and parsley together in a bundle using kitchen string and add to the pot. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Season with salt. Remove the herb bouquet.
  4. For the breadcrumb mixture: Mix together the breadcrumbs, Parmesan and parsley in a bowl.
  5. For the Arborio rice balls: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Simmer the rice, covered, until the liquid has evaporated and the rice is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes, then fluff the rice with a fork. Spread the rice out on a sheet tray to cool, until it is just slightly warm.
  6. Put the cooled rice into a large bowl. Fold the eggs and the Locatelli cheese into the rice, being careful not to overwork and damage the rice.
  7. Form some of the rice into a "cup" shape. Holding it in one hand, put some of the meat sauce inside the cup. Add some of the ricotta and fresh mozzarella, and a little more meat sauce. Make a second "cup" of rice and press it together with the filled cup. The rice ball should be about the size of a baseball. Continue with the remaining rice and filling.
  8. Fill a heavy-bottomed saucepan with 6 inches of peanut oil and place over medium heat until it reaches 350 degrees F. Roll the rice balls in the breadcrumb mixture. Deep-fry until golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes.
  9. Spoon the tomato sauce on the bottom of each plate. Place a rice ball in the center of the dish. Top with freshly grated Parmesan and parsley.