Makes 12 balls (Serves 4)
For the rice balls:
60ml chicken stock or water
Salt and black pepper
200g Arborio rice
50g Parmesan, grated
60g of either Mozzarella, ham, pine nuts or bolognese sauce, for filling
70g plain flour
75g breadcrumbs, panko or semolina
Vegetable oil, for frying
For the sauce:
½ an onion, finely chopped
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato purée
½ a chicken stock cube
1 garlic clove
Salt and pepper
Pinch of sugar
Basil leaves (optional)
- Bring the stock or water to the boil over a medium heat. Add a pinch of salt and the rice and cook on a low heat until the rice is tender but not overcooked. Drain and allow the rice to cool.
- Mix in the Parmesan, one egg and some salt and pepper. Spread the mixture on a tray and chill in the fridge for two hours.
- Taking one tablespoon at a time in the palm of your hand, form the rice into a nest. Put a little of the filling in the centre and form it into a ball. Wetting your hands a little will help with this.
- Place the flour, the remaining egg and breadcrumbs in three separate bowls, whisking the egg lightly. Roll each rice ball in the flour, then the egg, then the crumbs.
- Shallow- or deep-fry the balls until they are light golden. At this stage they can be kept in the fridge for a day or two.
- Preheat the oven to 180˚C/160˚C fan/gas mark 4. For the tomato sauce, heat some oil in a pan over a medium heat and cook the onion for five minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one minute, then add the stock cube, chopped tomatoes and tomato purée. Season with salt and pepper and add sugar and basil to taste. Blitz the mixture using a stick blender or food processor.
- Heat the rice balls in the oven for five minutes, then serve in the tomato sauce.
Per serving: 651kcals, 30g fat (8.5g saturated), 75.5g carbs, 5.3g sugars, 20.2g protein, 4.4g fibre, 0.620g sodium
Recipe courtesy of Tom McConalogue