Mamma Rosa rules supreme in the “rice ball” world, as we call them. For as long as I can remember, a plate of steaming hot rice balls appears at any family get together for us all to snack on before the main event. Countless times over the years she’s been asked to make them for parties of family friends and relatives too.
One Sunday I say to the Marito “I’m going to have a crack at making them myself”. There is a sharp intake of breath – it is like I am committing a transgression, or heading into some seriously dangerous territory. I use the recipe she scribed in my little book. I need about another twenty years practice to get them like hers, but I’ll get there. These are best if you cook the rice a day ahead of making them.
500g long grain rice
200g grated Parmeggiano
5 eggs, lightly beaten
Finely chopped parsley, to taste
Oil for frying
1. Cook the rice in a large pot of well salted water. Once cooked, let strain for at least an hour then put the rice in a large bowl. If you are making them on the day, wait till the rice is completely cooled, otherwise put the rice in the fridge for assembly the next day.
2. To the rice, add the eggs, cheese, parsley and season. Combine well with your hands. Once combined, start shaping the mixture into rissoles then roll in breadcrumbs to coat. Once formed, put them in the fridge for at least an hour before cooking.
Here are my uneven, awkward, and slightly too big ones
Here are Mamma Rosas petite uniform ones
3. Heat the oil in a heavy based frypan and fry gently until golden. Serve hot.