Central Avenue Rice Balls With Mozzarella

Serves: 15
Total Calories: 177


1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 1/2 cups Italian rice for risotto, such as Arborio
1 1/2 cups homemade or canned low-salt chicken broth
1 1/2 cups water
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon dry white wine, dry vermouth, or water
2/3 cup , freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, (3 ounces)
1/2 cup frozen green peas, rinsed under hot water until thawed
2 large eggs
1 cup dried bread crumbs
2 ounces mozzarella cheese, preferably fresh, cut into fifteen 1/2-inch cubes
vegetable shortening or vegetable oil for deep-frying


1. In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir well. Add the broth, water, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer until the rice is tender and has absorbed the liquid, about 15 minutes.

2. In a medium bowl, dissolve the tomato paste in the wine. Add the rice, Parmigiano cheese, and peas and mix well. Let cool completely. (The mixture will thicken as it cools.)

3. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Beat the eggs in a medium bowl. Put the bread crumbs in a shallow bowl. With wet hands, place 1/3 cup of the rice mixture in one hand and flatten into a thick patty. Place a mozzarella cube in the center and cover it with the rice, forming it into a ball. Dip into the eggs, then roll in the bread crumbs to coat. Place on the waxed paper. Repeat to use the remaining rice, rinsing your hands often in water to keep the rice mixture from sticking. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to set the coating.

4. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 200°F. Place a large wire cake rack over a jelly roll pan. In a large Dutch oven, melt vegetable shortening over high heat to a depth of 3 inches and heat it to 350°F.

5. Fry 3 or 4 balls at a time, turning once, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Using a wire-mesh skimmer, transfer to the cake rack and keep warm in the oven while frying the remaining balls. Serve the rice balls warm or at room temperature.

VARIATION: Replace the mozzarella cubes with about 2 teaspoons cooled meaty tomato sauce per rice ball. Serve the fried balls with the remaining sauce warmed and passed on the side.

Nutritional Facts:

Serves: 15
Total Calories: 177
Calories from Fat: 28

This Central Avenue Rice Balls With Mozzarella recipe is from the Fried & True: Crispy and Delicious Dishes from Appetizers to Desserts Cookbook. Download this Cookbook today.

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