Rice Balls

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Nick Prochilo

Chef Extraordinaire
Jan 4, 2005
Long Island, N.Y.
Okay this is the original recipe from Food Network.
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

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.

My next time around I would
1- Skip filling. They are a bitch to fill, althou I think if the rice was chilled overnight it would have been a bit easier, but 1/2 teaspoon of filling gets lost in there.
2- I skipped saffron
3- 2 cups of Parmesan cheese.
4- More garlic, onion & basil
5- Needs parsley

My grandmother or anybody elses I have had never had a filling. The cheese\rice combo deep fried is what makes these so good.
Thanks for the recipe Nick...decided to try the Rice Balls this weekend.

Started the rice Saturday Night, used Risotto

After rice was cooked, added 1 1/2 cups parmesan cheese plus 2 eggs....

Removed mixture to a container and chilled. Now it's monday and starting the filling. Used all beef instead of beef/pork combo.

Onions (shallots) and garlic

Beef, basil, parsley (per nicks suggestion), tomato sauce, tomato paste, little water and sugar....

Reduced down to a thicker consistency...

I'll let that cool.....my plan is to fill the rice balls with the filling ahead of time and let the whole thing stay chilled. All I will have to do is egg wash and bread crumbs then fry......will post final pics.....
Ready to fill the rice....it's messy and I can see why they are a pain to fill. The rice has to be very cold in order for the meat to stay in the ball, plus it helps to have some extra hands to help out;

First 2 done

made about 14 in all.....had plenty of meat mixture left over. Going to freeze that and use it next time I make a tomato sauce.

Put em back in the fridge for later breading and frying........now it's time for the hot wings and football!!
Ok, pulled the rice balls from the fridge...tested about 3 rice balls in the fryer and had to put them back in the fryer to cook a little longer (the making and putting them back in the fridge chilled the inside pretty good)

I left them in the fryer a little longer and so far so good....I have about 6 more I'm going to let get more room temp so the inside is cooked a little more (or at least warmer)

They turned out fantastic! Thanks for the post Nick....I would say the rice balls in themselves would be great but if you have the time to fill them, do it.

A little marinara and voila....meal in itself.
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