My blog has caused me to realize that I like Italian food more than any other International food. The reason could also lie in the fact that I am addicted to ItalianFood.Net and watch their cooking videos almost daily.
When I saw this video for supplì (already in the plural form; pronounced [soop-PLEE], based on U.S. English pronunciation), which are fried, stuffed balls of short-grained rice and ragù. When I saw these nuggets of meat, tomatoes, cheese, and rice, I just knew I had to get over my dislike of homemade, fried foods and make them. The chef even says that supplì are one of his favorite treats, so I had to make them.
*UPDATE* Supplì are not arancini, although they are very similar. The latter are shaped differently and do not include ragù (the tomato & beef sauce). Moreover, supplì are said to have originated in Rome and arancini in Sicily. I hope to try out arancini sometime very soon.
While this dish takes quite a bit of time, it is well worth it in the end. I made the ragù the day before so that the flavors could meld overnight in the refrigerator. The next day, I made the rice mixture and created my assembly line for the coating. I had never fried in olive oil before, but I didn’t notice a huge difference between using any other type of oil.
Anyway, I highly suggest making supplì for a party, your kids, or just because. I halved the recipe and still had enough for 3-4 people (I don’t know why the chef says the full recipe is for four people!). I decided to roll up the supplì you see in the photos and to save the rest of the rice mixture for whenever I want more. That way, the supplì are always fresh. If I don’t feel like making more supplì, I could also just eat the rice mixture as is, which is made almost exactly like risotto. It tastes amazing with or without the coating. Seriously.
1 lb ground beef (or ground turkey)
4 cups (1 Litre tomato sauce (I used about one box of Pomì crushed tomatoes)
1/2 of tomato paste tube (2.25 oz)
1 big carrot (½ cup) chopped
1 celery rib (½ cup) chopped
1/2 white onion (½ cup) chopped
1/4 cup of red wine (I used about 4 oz of Fre Red Wine, a non-alcoholic wine!! Yeaa!!)
1-2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce (optional)
1-2 Tbsp fresh sage
1-2 Tbsp fresh rosemary
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
Heat a large saucepan. Pour in olive oil. Add celery, carrot, onion, and let them brown over medium heat. Then add sage, rosemary, and cook the mixture for 1-2 minutes.
Add the ground beef, divide it well, and cook until the liquid has evaporated (about 5-10 minutes), then season with salt and black pepper.
After 10 minutes of cooking pour in the red wine, and let it evaporate. Add tomato paste, stir well, and add tomato sauce, cover and let it simmer for 1 ½ hour on a low heat. Make sure you season this sauce well before assembling the lasagne.
3/4 cups (175 gr) (6.15 oz) short-grained rice (I used arborio. Other suggestions: Carciofi, Bomba)
1 cup (250 gr) (9 oz) ragù (meat and tomato) Sauce (homemade or storebought; can be vegetarian)
1 large egg
50 gr (3.52 oz) cubed mozzarella cheese (enough to put in the small rice balls)
1/4 cup (50 gr) (3.52 oz) finely-grated parmesan
2 Tbsp (30 gr) (2.11 oz) unsalted butter, separated
2 cups (500 ml) beef broth or stock (can use chicken or vegetarian stock)
Enough flour and breadcrumbs to coat (I used Italian breadcrumbs)
Extra virgin olive oil for rice and for frying
Kosher salt to taste
Heat up a pot over medium heat then add 1 Tbsp of olive oil, 1 Tbsp of the butter, and let it melt. Once the butter has melted, add rice and toast it for about 2 minutes.
Add enough hot broth to cover the rice and when the broth has almost completely evaporated, continue to add enough broth to cover the rice, and keep doing this until there is no more broth, and the rice has evaporated.
When the rice is cooked al dente, season with salt, add remaining butter, ragù sauce, grated parmesan and stir quickly until becomes creamy. Turn off the heat and let it cool down to room temperature.
Make your supplì:
Break the egg and whisk. Pick up a handful of the rice mixture, mold into small balls, and firmly press it, place a small cube of mozzarella into the center then reshape into a ball. Firmly press the rice giving the typical elongated oval shape.
Roll the rice ball in flour. Continue molding the rice to give it the elongated oval shape, then dip the supplì in egg, and finally roll it well in breadcrumbs. Repeat until all the rice is used.
Heat extra virgin olive oil, which should be 3 inches deep, in a pot over high-medium heat, then add supplì. Let them fry until golden brown and crisp on all sides, turning over occasionally. When all supplì are golden brown, remove with a slotten spoon and place on kitchen paper to drain the olive oil.
Transfer supplì to a serving dish and offer to your friends. Remember to eat them with hands!