A big fat lady just sat on my hat (again)

(This post is a rerun from last year, posted mainly because maybe you want to make some suppli.  We do!)


So, we celebrate Columbus Day here.  As I’ll be rehashing in the Register tomorrow, it’s not because I think he was a perfect man (there was only one of those.  We get His day off school, too), or because I think that his achievement brought unmitigated blessings to mankind.  Still and all, I’m glad to be on this continent, I’m glad to have a three-day weekend, and I love me some eye-talian food.

On the menu is bruschetta with various disgusting toppings that the kids won’t eat, mwa ha ha ha ha hahh (that was the sound of me contemplating eating it all myself), some kind of antipasto with intimidating salami, damp cheeses, muscular olives, and those awful marinated vegetables I can’t get enough of, bread sticks and probably spaghetti for the kids, probably mussels or something, suppli, cannoli with cherries and shaved chocolate, and Italian ices.  It’s possible that some wine might leap into the shopping cart all by itself, too.

As you can see, this is a pretty Americanized Italian feast.  That’s just my way of sticking it to l’uomo.  Take that, Columbus!  If you’re such a hero, how come we’re not eating . . . well, I tried and tried to think of some kind of authentic Italian food which sounds gross, but I really couldn’t.  Maybe something with, like, ox brains or something?  The worst thing I had to eat in Rome was rabbit, and that was only kind of awful because we thought it was chicken, until we realized the legs were bending the wrong way.  Oh, and there were some kind of snack food that was exactly like biodegradable packing peanuts.  Those weren’t very good — or filling, which was terribly important for a student who was living on about 70 cents a day.

Anyway, here is my recipe for suppli, which is what we had for lunch most days in Rome (one semester in college).  They cost 800 – 1,000 lire each, a few years before they switched –sniff sniff– to the Euro.  Normally, I wouldn’t touch a recipe with a secondary recipe in it, but this one is worth it, believe me!

(photo source)


2 eggs
2 cups risotto (see recipe below)
4 oz. mozzarella in 1/2-inch cubes
3/4 cup bread crumbs
oil for frying
tomato sauce, if you like

Beat eggs lightly until just combined.

Add risotto and stir thoroughly, but do not mash rice.

If you want tomato sauce (this is how they were served in Rome), add it now – just enough to make it tomato-y, without thinning the mixture.

Form a ball about the size of a golf ball, make a little dent in it, stick a cube of cheese in the dent, and then add on another golf-ball sized lump of the rice mixture.  Form it all into a smooth egg shape.  Roll the whole thing in bread crumbs.  Do this until you use up all the rice mixture.

Refrigerate the balls for 30 minutes if you can, to make them easier to fry.

Heat oil to 375 degrees; preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Fry 4 or 5 balls at a time, about 5 minutes until they are golden brown.  The cheese inside should be melted.

Drain on paper towels, and keep the suppli warm in the oven while you are frying the rest — but these should be served pretty soon.


Risotto recipe:

7 cups chicken stock
4 Tbs butter
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
2 cups raw white rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 Tbs soft butter
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Set chicken stock to simmer in a pot.

In a large pan, melt 4 Tbs. butter – cook onions until soft but not brown.

Stir in raw rice and cook 1-2 minutes until the grains glisten and are opaque.

Pour in the wine and boil until wine is absorbed.

Add 2 cups of simmering stock and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally until the liquid is almost absorbed.

Add 2 more cups of stock and cook until absorbed.

If the rice is not tender by this point, keep adding 1/2 cups of stock until it is tender.

Gently stir in the 4 Tbs soft butter and the grated cheese with a fork.



  1. Simcha – Mama Mia! That looks positively delicious. All the best stuff – carbs, cheese, and fried. Yum!! I’m going to make those after we go see Courageous today. They can sit in the fridge hardening up while we’re at the movie.

    However you may want to make note that if the proper type of rice is not used it won’t work very well. The proper rice to make a risotto is a short-grained round or semi-round rice; I always use Arborio,

  2. Well, if all you other people get to be Irish for the day in March, I can certainly be Italian for the day in October. This recipe is the first one that ever made me want to be Italian.

    Any chance that brown rice will work in this recipe?

    • Hmm, brown rice just doesn’t sound very good, and it’s hard to imagine it getting creamy the way risotto is supposed to. I’m not exactly a coinoisseur, though – I just used regular white store brand rice, and it tasted good to me.

  3. Brown rice won’t work for risotto. The reason you use Arborio rice is that it puts off so much starch and thickens the broth. You can use barley in a pinch, though (adjusting cooking times). It also puts off some starch.

    It strikes me that this recipe-in-a-recipe isn’t so bad, because obviously these are a way to use up leftover risotto. So it’s a two-night process: Risotto on Saturday, making extra, and these on Sunday. Right?

    • Well, I made a double recipe of risotto (looks like about two gallons or so), and have been eating it all day, so in THEORY there will be some left for suppli, but we’ll see. The butter-onion-chicken-wine smell is turning me into a savage beast – I can’t stop!

  4. You can make risotto good enough for these in the crock pot, as long as you use the arborio. So, let’s be honest, make the batch on the stove the old-fashioned way to eat immediately, and then have a not-as-exquisitely-perfect batch in the crock pot at the same time to fry up in little balls.

    Also, olives or cubes of salami inside, instead of cheese, work very well, too.

  5. Okay, so I couldn’t get these off my mind. Night before last, I made curried chilcken, brown rice, and sweet potatoes. There was a lot of leftover sweet potato and rice, and I can’t believe I did this, but next day I mashed them together, pretended they were risotto, and proceeded with your recipe. Only dif was I added butter,parsley and garlic to the bread crumbs, and I didn’t serve them with tomato sauce but only with a squeeze of lemon. The kids LOVED them! I think that from now on I will smash up whatever leftovers there are, roll them in a ball and stick some cheese in the middle, and fry them up in breadcrumbs.

  6. @Rebecca
    Awesome- I laughed so hard! I firmly believe that any food is better with butter (and usually bacon), but I might just add fried cheese to the list.

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