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Rice Balls

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Makes about 2 dozen depending on the size of the ball


5 cups chicken stock
3 Tablespoons Fresh Basil Olive Oil from Olive Oil Etcetera
1 medium onion
1 cup finely diced ham or prosciutto, about 3 oz
2 cups arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup grated Grana Padano, or Parmigiano-Reggiano
10 basil leaves
4 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into 24 cubes
1 cup all purpose flour
2 cups breadcrumbs
2 large eggs
Vegetable oil, for frying


In a small pot, warm chicken stock over low heat.
In a medium saucepan, heat the basil olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the chopped onion and cook until it softens (about 3-4 minutes). Add ham or prosciuttoand cook a few minutes until it renders its fat. Add the uncooked rice and coat in oil and fat. Pour in wine, bring to a simmer and cook until wine is gone. Add 3 cups hot chicken stock and salt. Cover and simmer until stock is absorbed by rice, about 8 minutes. Add remaiing 2 cups stock and recover. Cook until rice is al dente, about 6 minutes more. Uncover, if liquid remains, increase heat and cook until all of liquid is absorbed. Stir in peas and spread mixture on baking sheet to cool.

When rice is cool, put it in a bowl and stir in grated cheese and chopped basil. Scoop out about 1/3 cup riceand put a cube of mozzarella in the middle. Form a tight ball around the cheese. You should get about 24 rice balls.

Spread the flour and breadcrumbs on two dishes. Beat the eggs in a shallow bowl. Dredge the rice balls in flour, tapping off excess. Dip them in egg mixture, letting excess drip back into bowl. Roll through breadcrumbs.

In a large skillet, heat 1 inch of vegetable oil over medium heat. Fry the rice balls in batches,  turning on all sides, about 3 minutes per batch. Drain on paper towels and season with salt while hot.

*Recipe adapted from Lidia'