Tag Archives: finger food

Mamma Rosa’s rice balls (polpetti di riso)

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.

Ingredients
500g long grain rice
200g grated Parmeggiano
5 eggs, lightly beaten
Finely chopped parsley, to taste
Breadcrumbs
Salt
Oil for frying

Making them
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.

riceballs-1

Here are my uneven, awkward, and slightly too big ones

riceballs-2

Here are Mamma Rosas petite uniform ones

riceballs-4

3. Heat the oil in a heavy based frypan and fry gently until golden. Serve hot.

riceballs-3riceballs-5

Potato and Mozzarella croquettes

These simple croquettes make great finger food for a crowd.

potatocroquettes

Ingredients
1kg peeled potatoes
1/2 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
100g breadcrumbs
1 cup grated Reggiano Parmesan
1 egg, lightly beaten
salt and pepper for seasoning
1/2cm cubes of mozzarella

For coating
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups breadcrumbs

Olive oil, for frying

Making them
1. Place the potatoes in a pot, cover with cold water and bring to the boil; cook the potatoes until tender. Remove from the heat once cooked, drain, and pass the potatoes through a potato ricer into a bowl. Allow to cool.
2. Season with salt and pepper, add the parsley and combine. Add the egg and combine, and finally add the breadcrumbs and combine
3. Divide the mixture into balls. An ice-cream scoop is great for this. A large scoop will give you about 18 larger croquettes, a medium one 30-ish smaller ones. I didn’t cut my mozzarella till I figured out what size I was going to do.
4. After the balls are formed, indent each one in the centre with your thumb, place a cube of mozzarella in the dent, and form into an oval croquette.
5. In a bowl, place beaten eggs and in a separate bowl place the breadcrumbs. Roll each croquette in the eggs then in the breadcrumbs to coat. You can prepare the croquettes ahead up to this point and then put them in the fridge until ready to fry.
6. Heat a heavy based pan with a generous amount of oil and fry the croquettes for 4-5 minutes. Drain on paper towels and serve.