Ideal for a summer snack with a chilled glass of Italian beer or white wine these bread-crumbed fritters are the shape of fat sausages and are made out of cheesy, tomato risotto and are filled with mozzarella. As they are served straight from the fryer, melting strings of cheese ooze out of them when they are bitten into resembling Rome’s telegraph wires known as supplì. Chef Giancarlo told us that to make his famous supplì, the cheese inside needs to reach 140°C (280°F) to melt perfectly. This recipe is from ‘Rome – Centuries in an Italian Kitchen’ by Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi published by Hardie Grant.
(Photography by Helen Cathcart)
Supplì al Telefono – Hot Rice Fritters Stuffed with Mozzarella
Makes 10 – 12 (large supplì)
- 1 small white onion, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 25 g (1 oz) salted butter
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 400 g (14 oz) risotto rice (carnaroli or arborio)
- 1.2 litre homemade hot chicken or vegetable stock
- 200 ml (7 fl oz)
- Sugo Finto tomato sauce, cooled
- 1 x 125 g (4 oz) mozzarella ball (buffalo or cow’s milk), diced
- sunflower oil, for frying
- plain (all-purpose) flour, for dusting
- 1 medium egg, lightly beaten
- 120 g (4 oz) fine breadcrumbs
In a large high-sided frying pan, fry the onion in the olive oil, butter, salt and pepper over a medium heat for around 5 minutes until soft and translucent – don’t let it become coloured. Add the rice and stir through so that the grains are coated in oil. Pour in the hot stock in one go and bring to the boil. Cook the rice over a medium heat until it is very soft and the liquid has been absorbed. Stir frequently and be careful not to let it catch on the bottom of the pan. Remove from the heat and pour on to a clean baking tray to cool. Stir it around frequently to help it to cool down quickly; you want it to cool within an hour to reduce any risk of bacteria.
Once the risotto has reached room temperature, add the tomato sauce and work it into the rice with your hands to break it down until it feels sticky and malleable. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Form oblong-shaped rice balls with your hands, roughly the size of a large egg. Using your finger make a hole in the centre of each ball and stuff a small cube of mozzarella in the centre. Close the hole over and squeeze tightly between your hands shaping it into a fat sausage shape.
Fill a saucepan with enough sunflower oil to cover the supplì, but make sure the oil fills no more than half of the pan. For best results, use a small pan and fry the supplì one at a time, but you can use a larger pan and cook several at once too. Heat the oil to 180°C (350°F).
Put some flour, the beaten egg and the breadcrumbs each into separate bowls. Dip and gently roll the rice balls first in the flour, then the egg and finally the breadcrumbs to coat all sides. Using a slotted spoon, gently place them in the hot oil in small batches.
Fry for 2–3 minutes until crisp and golden brown. Remove with the slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper for a couple of minutes before serving immediately; the mozzarella should be stringy and melted inside.
The Restaurant: Caldesi in Campagna, Old Mill Lane, Bray, Berkshire, SL6 2BG | www.caldesi.com/caldesi-in-campagna/ | 01628 788500 | 2 AA Rosettes
Following on from the success of the two London restaurants, and inspired by Giancarlo’s rural upbringing in Tuscany, Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi opened Caldesi in Campagna in 2007. Located west of London in the pretty village of Bray, just a few minutes from the M4, J8/9, offering an Italian fine dining experience in the sumptuous contemporary surroundings. Exuding a holiday like ambiance it is blessed with two qualities, the feeling of seclusion and the warmest of Italian welcomes.
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