We had fun in the Cookhouse kitchen in North Beach. I was still on this kick cooking the food of Roma and Napoli so I could get in the groove for an upcoming trip to those cities. Stay tuned for some episodes we shot in Italia!
Suppli are tasty egg-shaped fried rice balls. The surprise in the middle give them their name.
You may know these as arancini. They remind Sicilians of oranges. But in Rome, they’re called suppli al telefono for the telephone lines formed when you bite into melted mozzarella at the center.
The rice inside the crispy crust is flavored by a thick flavorful tomato-meat sauce. The best bite is when you hit the oozing mozzarella telephone lines in the center.
- For the tomato/meat mixture:
- 1½ ounces dried porcini mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ pound ground lean beef
- 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 cups passato di pomodoro or tomato puree
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- For the rice:
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- For the breadcrumb coating:
- 1 egg
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- ½ pound fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into rectangles the size and shape of large sugar cubes (about 24 pieces)
- Olive oil, preferably extra-virgin, for deep-frying
- To make the tomato mixture:
- In a small bowl, combine the mushrooms with warm water to cover and let stand for 15 minutes to rehydrate. Drain, squeeze out the excess liquid and chop finely.
- In a fry pan over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Add the beef, onion and mushrooms and sauté until the meat is no longer red, about 5 minutes.
- Add the tomato puree and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the sauce has reduced by about one-third, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
- To make the rice:
- Bring a large saucepan three-fourths full of water to a rapid boil over high heat.
- Add the 1 tablespoon of sea salt and the rice and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until the rice has softened but is still al dente, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain the rice and spread it out on a large platter or roasting pan to cool slightly.
- When cool put the rice in a bowl and add the eggs, butter, parmigiano, a pinch of salt and the tomato mixture. Mix to combine well. Let cool to room temperature.
- To form the croquettes:
- Whisk the egg in a small, shallow bowl.
- Pour the flour into a second shallow bowl and the breadcrumbs into a third bowl.
- Using a spoon or your hands, scoop up some rice and with your hand form into a ball the size and shape of an egg to make the suppli.
- With your finger, make an indentation in the side of the suppli, insert a piece of the mozzarella deep into the center and close the rice around it.
- Roll the suppli in the flour to lightly cover all over, then the beaten egg coating it all over, and then roll in the bread crumbs, again coating evenly.
- Place the ball on a large, flat plate or tray. Repeat with the remaining rice and cheese, evenly coating each suppli.
- When all the suppli are formed, cover the plate and refrigerate the suppli for at least 1 hour or up to overnight before cooking.
- Preheat an oven to 200°F. You can keep the suppli warm on a sheet pan in the oven as you cook them.
- To cook the suppli:
- In a heavy saucepan or deep, heavy fry pan, pour in olive oil to a depth of at least 2 inches and over medium-high heat the oil until a bit of rice dropped into the hot oil sizzles immediately on contact.
- Working in batches, fry the supply, turning as needed to color evenly, until they are a deep sunburned color and have a nice crisp crust, 5 to 7 minutes.
- With a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain, then transfer to the platter in the oven while you fry the remaining croquettes.
- Serve the croquettes while the mozzarella core is still hot. They may be eaten with a knife and fork, but for the traditional telephone-cord effect, they should be eaten by hand so the telephone line forms as you bite into the mozzarella center.
- Makes about 24 croquettes.