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Supplì al Telefono

Supplì al Telefono
  • courseAntipasto
  • difficultyMedium
  • preparation time1 hour

Romans describe supplì as "al telefono" because when you pull one of the rice croquettes apart, long strings of mozzarella stretch between halves, much like an old-school telephone. These tasty bites were created originally as a simple snack made with leftover risotto; today, they're often served as appetizers before dinner.

And yes, we admit it: Roman supplì are quite similar to Sicilian arancinci — but you won't hear us telling either our Roman or Sicilian colleagues that!

Supplì al Telefono (Roman Rice Croquettes)
Recipe courtesy of Eataly 

Yield: 20 croquettes

2 cups Carnaroli or Arborio rice
1 yellow onion, minced
1 quart beef broth
2 large eggs
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, diced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano, freshly grated
1½ cups fine untoasted breadcrumbs
Vegetable oil, for frying
Salt & freshly-ground black pepper

Bring the broth to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place a saucepan over medium heat, and add the extra virgin olive oil. Add the diced onions to the pan, and cook until they become tender. When the onions are soft and golden, season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add the rice, stir to combine thoroughly, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook, stirring constantly, adding the broth in small amounts, like risotto (get the guide). Cook until the rice no longer has a brittle core but is still al dente, about 15 to 20 minutes (cooking time will vary!). This rice should be less soft and have much less remaining liquid than risotto; you may not use all of the broth.

Remove the skillet from the heat, and stir in the grated cheese. Spread the cooked rice on the prepared baking sheet, and allow to cool until you can handle it comfortably.

Once the rice has cooled, divide it into 20 equal portions, each about the size of an egg. In a shallow bowl, beat the eggs. Place the breadcrumbs in another shallow bowl.

With damp hands, roll 1 portion of the rice in your hands to form a ball. Dig your thumb into the center of the ball, and stuff each one with a piece of mozzarella, sealing any holes. The mozzarella shouldn't be visible. Set aside, and repeat with the remaining rice and mozzarella. Wet your hands occasionally to keep the rice from sticking.

One at a time, dredge each croquette in the beaten eggs and then the breadcrumbs, and set aside.

In a cast-iron skillet over medium heat, warm 1 to 2 inches of vegetable oil until hot but not smoking: the oil should be hot enough to melt the cheese in the center of the croquettes without burning the rice. Working in batches to avoid crowding the pan if necessary, add the croquettes to the skillet, and fry for about 5 minutes total, moving them around with a slotted spoon or strainer to brown all sides.

As the croquettes are browned, remove them with a slotted spoon or strainer to drain briefly on paper towels. Serve warm.

Buon appetito!

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For more tastes of Roma, visit your local Eataly! From May 1 to June 4, we are devoting ourselves to the Eternal City with the best dishes, ingredients, and beyond. Eat as the Romans do!

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