Side note: I watch a lot of Food Network. Like, feel like you are friends with the people in your tv, amount. It’s that or HGTV. I could sit down to watch a show and hours later I am planning my next DIY project and scone recipe.
I made them as an appetizer for a dinner party and people seriously would’ve been happy if that was the only thing I served. It’s probably the only thing they recall too. After dinner (and a few drinks) we actually heated some more up. It was a perfect way to soak the booze up nightcap.
I won’t lie; they are a little labor intensive. Cooking the rice, shredding the cheese, frying the pancetta rolling the balls, dipping them in batter – it’s a job. I don’t want to scare you away, though. They are worth every bit of time and effort required!
Good news is you can make them the night before, wrap them really tight with plastic wrap on a cookie sheet and stick them in the fridge until you are ready. I let mine sit out a few minutes before I drop them in the oil.
Talking about the oil, you want it to be hot- 350 degrees hot; no more, no less. If it’s too hot the outside will burn and you won’t get the stringy cheese on the inside when you bite into one. If it’s not hot enough you’ll get a soggy ball of oil and cheese. No one is going to rave about that.
To finish, I grate a little pecorino cheese over top and serve it with some homemade marinara sauce that I shared with you earlier this week.
I’m actually craving a couple of these Italian bites of heaven right now.
- 2 cups cooked, plain white rice, season with a pinch of salt
- ½ pound ricotta
- ¾ pound mozzarella
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup grated pecorino, plus more for garnish
- 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
- 4 ounces pancetta, cut into cubes and slowly rendered in a saute pan until crispy
- 1½ cup flour seasoned with salt and pepper
- 4 eggs, scrambled
- 2 cups seasoned Italian breadcrumbs
- salt and pepper, to taste
- In a medium bowl, add the rice, ricotta, mozzarella, eggs, pecorino, parsley and pancetta and stir until well incorporated. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate the mixture for approximately one hour until the mixture begins to stiffen a bit.
- Using a spoon, scoop the rice into balls, rolling between your palms to even out the shape.
- Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment.
- Place the seasoned flour in a shallow pan, in another bowl whisk the eggs, and lastly a pan filled with the breadcrumbs.
- Roll the balls in the flour, then dip in the eggs to cover, and finally roll in the breadcrumbs. At this point you can refrigerate for one day.
- Preheat oil in a deep fat fryer or large pot to 350 degrees. Place the balls into the oil and cook until golden brown, drain on a towel and serve sprinkled with fresh grated pecorino cheese.