On my first rice ball recipe, I spoke about the traditional Sicilian Rice Ball. Well, here it is!! I found on our visit to Sicily that rice balls where everywhere....and spinach were the most popular. Although there were many different varieties, these were may favorite. Probably because they remind me sooooo much of my Grandmother. The rice mixture I will show you was something she made all the time. Funny though, never in a ball like this. She would use this mixture to stuff chickens.... which was amazing. She would make little patties and just bake them as a rice cake. And the most amazing....she would make an extremely thin crust and make a sort of rectangular pie. She called that "Tutha"!! I actually don't even know how to spell that. I just spelled it the way it is pronounced...haha. But, I grew up on this amazingly delicious creation of hers. Anyway, we will get to all those, on to the rice balls!
SPINACH & RICE BALLS
2 CUPS ABORIO RICE 5 CUPS CHICKEN BROTH 1 LARGE ONION 1 WHOLE HEAD OF GARLIC 4 TBLSP OF BUTTER OLIVE OIL 2 BAGS OF FRESH SPINACH 5 EGGS 1 CUP GRATED PARMESAN CHEESE 10 TO 12 SLICES OF PROSCUITTO 1 WHOLE MOZZARELLA CUT INTO 1/2" CUBED SALT & PEPPER
****NEEDED FOR FRYING**** FLOUR 6 EGGS PANKO BREAD CRUMBS OIL FOR FRYING
*****PREPARED MARINARA SAUCE FOR DIPPING WHEN SERVING*****
Start by preparing the rice. Bring to a boil the chicken stock and 2 Tblsp olive oil in a medium stock pot. Add the rice and lower the flame to let it gently simmer. Stir occasionally and cook for about 20 minutes or as directed on package. When done spread out on a cookie sheet to cool and dry the rice.
Meanwhile, chop your onion and garlic. Heat 2 Tblsp of olive oil and the butter in a large saute pan. Over a medium flame, saute for 10 to 15 minutes until onions are soft and tender.
Chop all of your spinach. I know its alot but it cooks down to nothing.
Add it into the pan in batches as it cooks down. This goes very quickly. As soon as it is all in and wilted, turn off the heat. It is done.
Now prepare your proscuitto. Lay it out and chop finely.
Time to put the rice mixture together!! Put the cooked rice in a large mixing bowl. Whisk the egg and add it in. Followed by the grated cheese....proscuitto... and the spinach/onion mixture. Mix it all together well.
This is so flavorful and gorgeous.....
So you are now ready to make balls!! Prepare your stations with separate bowls for each...flour....egg....panko!! And one for the mozzarella you will chop into small cubes.
Get your oil heated in a large frying pan and let's go. Take about 2 tablespoons of filling in your hand. make a well in the center. Place a cube of mozzarella in the center and mold the filling around it into the shape of a ball.
Dredge it through the flour....dip into the egg wash...roll and cover with panko. Then into the frying pan.
Fry on all sides until a beautiful golden brown. Serve hot so the cheese is still soft when you cut into it. Some marinara sauce on the side is perfect for serving also. Look at these.....they look amazing!!! ENJOY!!!!