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How to make a rice ball

Rice balls are fried delicacies sold in many Italian specialty food stores and markets. Often filled with meat or cheese, rice balls can be bite-sized snacks or softball-sized meals.

Due to some uncertainty about how to keep rice balls from falling apart, many home chefs shy away from recreating them in their own kitchens. However, with a little know-how, anyone can create delicious rice balls.

Rice Balls

1 cup rice with a high starch content to make it sticky, like aborio

2 cups water

Salt for flavoring

Homemade or prepared breadcrumbs

2 to 3 ounces mozzarella cheese, cubed

1 to 2 eggs, whisked

1/2 cup homemade or prepared tomato sauce

Few sprigs parsley, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Vegetable oil for frying

In a saucepan, bring water and a pinch of salt to a boil. Add rice to boiling water and reduce heat to simmer. Cover pot and cook, roughly 15 minutes, until all the water is absorbed by the rice.

Drain the water and put rice in a bowl. Add the tomato sauce and mix. Season with parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Allow the mixture to sit and cool to room temperature before handling.

Have beaten eggs ready in a shallow bowl. Pour breadcrumbs into another bowl and set aside.

Take the rice mixture and gather some in your hand. (Wet hands between making rice balls to keep the rice from sticking to your hands). Cup and form into a bowl. Push a piece of the mozzarella cheese into the center of the rice ball and reshape.

Roll the rice ball into the eggs and then place into the breadcrumbs to coat. Repeat the process if desired for a thicker coating.

Repeat until all the rice is used. Place the formed rice balls into the refrigerator for several hours or overnight to set.

Heat oil in a deep frying pan. Place a few rice balls in at a time and cook until golden on all sides. Place on rack to drain. Repeat with all rice balls.

Serve and enjoy.