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Rice croquettes with mozzarella recipe

Rice croquettes with mozzarella recipe

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Called suppli in Italy, these little rice croquettes are based on a classic risotto mixture, which is moulded round nuggets of mozzarella and rolled in breadcrumbs before cooking. It's a great way to use up leftover risotto. Traditionally the croquettes are deep-fried, but here they are baked for a modern streamlined version.

11 people made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 200 g (7 oz) risotto rice
  • 3 tbsp dry vermouth
  • 600 ml (1 pint) hot vegetable stock
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 30 g (1 oz) Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 55 g (2 oz) fine white breadcrumbs, made from bread 1–2 days old
  • 55 g (2 oz) mozzarella cheese, cut into 8 cubes
  • salt and pepper
  • To serve
  • 100 g (3½ oz) baby spinach leaves
  • lemon wedges

MethodPrep:35min ›Cook:40min ›Ready in:1hr15min

  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the onion and cook gently for about 5 minutes or until softened. Add the rice and stir to coat all the grains with the oil. Stir in the vermouth and boil until it has almost all evaporated.
  2. Add a ladleful of the hot stock and bubble gently, stirring frequently, until it has almost all been absorbed. Continue adding the stock, a ladleful at a time, allowing each to be almost all absorbed before adding the next, and stirring frequently. Total cooking time will be 15–20 minutes. The risotto is ready when the rice is tender but the grains are still firm, and the overall texture is moist and creamy.
  3. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the egg and Parmesan, then leave to cool completely.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F, gas mark 6). Heat a lightly oiled ovenproof dish or baking tin in the oven. Mix the breadcrumbs with some seasoning on a large plate.
  5. Spoon the risotto into 8 equal mounds on a large board. Press a cube of mozzarella into the centre of each mound, then press the risotto over the cheese so it is completely enclosed. With your hands, mould each mound into a neat egg-shaped croquette.
  6. Roll the croquettes in the seasoned breadcrumbs until completely coated. Place in the hot ovenproof dish or tin and bake for 30–40 minutes, turning halfway through, until golden brown and crisp.
  7. Make a heap of spinach leaves on 4 plates and top each one with 2 croquettes. Serve immediately, with lemon wedges to squeeze over.

Parmesan cheese

Parmesan cheese is not truly vegetarian, as it contains animal rennet. To make this dish 100% vegetarian, omit the cheese or find a suitable vegetarian substitute made without animal rennet. In supermarkets look for the 'parmesan style hard cheeses' which are suitable for vegetarians.

Some more ideas

Stuff a small leaf of fresh basil or sage in the centre of each croquette with the mozzarella. * Turn this into a lunch dish for 3 or 4 simply by serving the croquettes with a well-flavoured tomato or red pepper sauce spooned over, and a crisp salad alongside. * Although mozzarella is the traditional cheese to use, cubes of creamy, blue-veined Dolcelatte, Brie, Camembert or taleggio cheeses could all be substituted. * Make rice croquettes with chorizo. Cook the risotto as in the main recipe, but add 2 tbsp chopped fresh sage or 2 tsp dried sage instead of the Parmesan. Cut a 65 g chorizo sausage into 8 slices and fry in a dry pan for 5 minutes or until crisp. Drain well on kitchen paper. Stuff each croquette with a slice of chorizo instead of the mozzarella cubes. Serve the croquettes on a bed of rocket leaves and scatter over a few halved cherry tomatoes to garnish.

Plus points

Mozzarella cheese is lower in fat than many other cheese – Cheddar cheese has on average 34.4 g fat per 100 g (3½ oz), whereas the same weight of mozzarella cheese contains 21 g fat. * Raw spinach is a good source of beta-carotene and provides vitamin C and E, all of which are antioxidants that help to protect against heart disease, strokes and cancer.

Each serving provides

A, B12, calcium, zinc * B1, B2, C, folate, niacin, copper, iron, potassium, selenium

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(1)

Reviews in English (1)

Going to make this during the week!! All sounds fantastic - exactly what I like! Glad to see a baked version too - wasn't interested in buying a fryer just to make them!-22 Jul 2012

Rice croquettes (Polpette di riso)

Ever cooked too much rice? Well, put the extra rice in the fridge and the day after convert it in delicious croquettes. When I prepare the Parmigiana risotto, I always prepare a lot of it so the day after I can prepare croquettes. Eaten when warm they are lovely but cold they are even better!


Ingredients (Metric & Imperial measurements):

  • 450g (1lb) Rice from the day before
  • 2 Eggs (medium size)
  • 25 g (1 oz) Fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • Some mozzarella balls (diced)
  • A small bowl containing dry breadcrumbs (finely grated)
  • Sunflower oil for deep frying
  • These are Imperial and Metric measurements. U.S measurements available at

Nutrition facts: Calories 650 per serving.

Ingredients (U.S. measurements):

  • 16 ounces (1 pound) Rice from the day before
  • 2 Eggs (medium size)
  • 1 ounce Fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • Some mozzarella balls (diced)
  • A small bowl containing dry breadcrumbs (finely grated)
  • Sunflower oil for deep frying

Put the rice into a large bowl.

Add 1 egg first and start to mix it with the rice. If the mix looks too dry, then you can add the second egg or just the yolk. What you need is a mix from which you can easily make balls (not too dry, not too loose).

Stir until all the egg coats the rice.

Now, add the Parmesan cheese and stir thoroughly. At this stage, you are free to add other ingredients if you like (i.e.: ham cut into small pieces - but of course the dish is no longer vegetarian!)

Take some of the rice in one hand and put 1 or 2 small mozzarella dices into it. Close the mozzarella inside making a rice ball.

Then, roll the ball in the breadcrumbs.

Flatten the ball, making sure it does not break and that you cannot see any part of mozzarella. The diameter of the disc should be about 4 cm (1 1/2").

This is what you should have before the deep frying stage.

Heat the sunflower oil and when the oil is hot, put the croquettes into the frying pan.

After few seconds move the croquettes gently with a spoon to ensure that they do not stick to the bottom of the pan.

Continue frying for few minutes until the croquettes are golden brown. When ready, remove them from the frying pan and put them into a large dish or bowl lined with some kitchen paper to absorb the excess oil.

This is the final presentation, where all the croquettes are perfectly cooked.

Little Rice Balls with Mushrooms and Mozzarella

Heat the olive oil in a 2 quart saucepan add the garlic and rice and cook until the rice crackles and is well coated in the oil but is not browned. Stir in the wine and allow it to evaporate. Begin adding the broth a ladle at a time allowing the rice to absorb it before adding more. Cook until rice is al dente. Stir in the saffron and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and add the chopped mushrooms with their liquid. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.

With your hands scoop up about 1/4 cup of rice and make a small indentation in the middle.  Place a piece or two of the cheese in the hollow then top with another quarter cup of rice and enclose the cheese and compact it into a ball.

Coat the rice balls in breadcrumbs, then coat in the egg whites and then in bread crumbs again. 

Allow to “dry” on a tray for 10 minutes in the refrigerator.

Meanwhile heat 6 cups of the olive oil to 375°F in a deep heavy duty pot or fryer.

Fry the rice balls a few at a time until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels.

Risotto Croquettes with Mozzarella and Prosciutto

Bring broth to boil in heavy small saucepan. Remove from heat and cover. Melt butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion and sauté 4 minutes. Add rice stir 1 minute. Add wine and stir until absorbed, about 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup broth and simmer until liquid is absorbed, stirring often. Cook until rice is just tender and risotto is creamy, adding broth 1/2 cup at at time, stirring frequently and allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding next, about 25 minutes. Mix in Parmesan. Season risotto with salt and pepper. Cool completely. Mix in 1 egg. Cover and chill.

Step 2

Place some flour in 1 bowl place remaining egg in another bowl and beat to blend. Place breadcrumbs in third bowl. Using moistened hands, shape 1/4 cup (packed) cold risotto into ball. Poke hole in center. Fill with 1 rounded teaspoon mozzarella and 1 teaspoon prosciutto. Press risotto over filling. Coat rice balls in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs. Place on rack to dry. Repeat with remaining risotto, filling and coating. Let rice balls stand at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.

Step 3

Pour 1 1/2 inches oil into heavy medium pot. Attach deep-fry thermometer and heat oil to 360°F. Fry balls, 3 at a time, until golden and crusty, turning once, about 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Rice croquettes

Marina Sassu is a cordon bleu cook, has a Masters Degree in the Economic History of Rome, and is Roman to the very roots of her hair. So when she offered to take me on a tour of the city’s food markets, I jumped at the chance.

These croquettes are called supplì al telefono in Italian ‘telephone style’ because when you split them open while they’re hot, the melted mozzarella centre forms a string between the two halves like an old fashioned telephone!


(serves four to six people)
500g Arborio rice
500ml homemade tomato ragù sauce
4tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
knob of butter 1 whole egg plus 2 yolks, beaten
200g day-old mozzarella or fior di latte
100g homemade breadcrumbs
olive oil for deep frying.


This is a good way to use left over risotto, but even when cooking the rice from scratch be sure to use a starchy rice such as Arborio so the rice is sticky enough to be formed easily into cylinder shapes. Similarly, any left over tomato sauce is good for this recipe although tradition calls for a tomato sauce in which a piece of meat has been cooked so there are little scraps of meat to be found and the sauce is more flavoursome.

Heat the tomato sauce and add the rice. Cook it as if you were making a risotto and continue until the rice is very al dente (try not to overcook), adding ladlefuls of hot water as required as the rice absorbs the tomato sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Take off the heat and mix in the Parmesan cheese and the butter. Leave to cool. Before the rice mixture is completely cold, stir in the beaten egg. Put in fridge and leave until ready to make the rice balls.

Cut the mozzarella or fior di latte into small rectangles about 1cm x 2cm. (Fresh mozzarella releases too much milk so be sure to use one that’s at least a day old.) To form the croquettes, take small handfuls of the cold rice mixture and press a piece of mozzarella into the centre. Making sure the mozzarella is well sealed inside, form the rice into small croquettes. Roll croquettes in the breadcrumbs then shake to remove excess crumbs that will only burn in the hot oil. Heat the olive oil in a deep pan, and fry croquettes in small batches until golden brown all over. Drain well on kitchen paper and eat hot.

Variation: along with the mozzarella in the centre of the croquettes you can add a few peas, some chopped ham or some finely chopped sautéed mushrooms.

Rice croquettes with mozzarella recipe - Recipes

It’s common knowledge that anything fried can’t be anything but delicious.

As much as Potato Croquettes rank high on the list of fried foods these Rice Croquettes may be their fiercest competition.

I’ve experimented with several recipes having little to no success but the challenge to find an easy and satisfying recipe has never been far from my mind.

When least expected the one cup of leftover cold rice sitting in the fridge and three different recipes on which I had been contemplating turned out to be a challenge ready to be taken on. If things had not worked out I wasn't anticipating any waste as plan B was already in place. Frittata anyone? The recipe is for another post.

Cold rice is the number one enemy when making rice balls and I don't think parboiled long grain rice was the best choice for making these either. Two counts against me didn't make for a promising endeavor but I somehow felt it was worth a try.

In the recipe for Potato Croquettes a piece of mozzarella is usually placed in the middle of the mixture before frying and this is also common practice when making rice balls.

I experimented by gently warming up the cold rice and adding an egg, parsley, some cheese and small cubes of mozzarella right into the rice mixture instead of saving it for the middle. Part of the mozzarella melted which helped hold things together long enough to give them the bread crumb coating. Once fried, the remaining pieces created those enjoyable strands of cheese that are loved by all.

I used Arborio rice when making them for this post since it's also the preferred variety for risotto. The higher starch content makes it a little stickier and easier to work with. I have concluded that the parboiled rice worked just as well as the Arborio in this recipe and will most likely be my choice when making them again. I preferred the texture and taste of parboiled to the Arborio.

I am grateful for those who originate recipes and even more grateful to those who find it in their heart to share them. However, the opportunity to see an even greater potential in an existing recipe should never pass you by. This recipe includes ingredients but mostly methods of preparation from three different recipes plus a few small changes of my own.

A big thanks to all who unknowingly contributed to this delicious new recipe. Enjoy!

Italian Rice Croquettes
2 eggs
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh Italian parsley
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter (soft)
3/4 cup cubed mozzarella (1/2 inch dice)
1 ½ cups fine dried bread crumbs
Oil for frying

Ingredients for supplì al telefono

Makes about 40 croquettes (weight 50-60g)

  • 500g arborio (risotto) rice
  • 4 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • Half a small onion, finely chopped
  • 150g beef mince
  • 50ml red wine
  • 400g passata
  • Salt, as required
  • Pepper, as required
  • 1.2l boiling water (or beef stock)
  • 40g butter
  • 60g parmesan
  • 2 medium-sized eggs
  • 200g mozzarella
  • 1l peanut oil to deep fry (or sunflower oil)
  • 5 egg whites
  • 200g fine breadcrumbs


Chop the mozzarella into strips and place them in a sieve with a plate underneath to drain any excess of water.

In a large saucepan add the oil and onions. On low heat let them cook slowly, add a pinch of salt and stir. Cook for a few minutes until they soften.

Add the beef mince and a pinch of salt. On medium-high heat brown the meat, add the wine and let it evaporate.

Lower the heat, add the passata and the salt and pepper, stir and bring to a simmer. Put a lid on and cook on low heat until the passata thickens and reduces in size. Taste and adjust with more salt and pepper, according to your taste.

How to make the tomato sauce

Increase the heat, add the rice and mix it well with the sauce.

Add enough boiling water to cover the rice. Cook slowly and stir, keeping an eye on the rice, never letting it dry out and adding extra boiling water when required. Add some salt during the cooking, and taste often to see how much more is required (this depends on your personal taste).

It will take you up to 20 minutes to cook the rice al dente. When the rice has doubled in size and is all compacted, keep it on a low heat, add some pepper and stir well.

Add the butter and stir to incorporate it with the rice.

Take the pan off the hob. Add the grated parmesan and stir well. Add the eggs and mix well with a wooden spoon until the eggs are well incorporated with the rice.

When tomato sauce and rice meet

Transfer the rice to a baking dish (a pyrex or lasagne dish, for example) and even it out. Let rest for a couple of hours, or until it gets cold and sticky.

I need some rest. Call me in a couple of hours

When the rice is ready (the stickier, the better) you can start putting the croquettes together. Each supplì will weigh between 50g and 60g (after the wrapping in egg and breadcrumbs).

Prepare 3 different plates. On the first, place the mozzarella. On the second, beat the egg whites lightly with a fork.

On the third plate, add some breadcrumbs (you will add a bit more for each supplì al telefono). A fourth plate will be at the end of the chain, where you can place each finished supplì.

Take a tablespoon of rice and place it in your hand. Add a strip of mozzarella across it. Take another tablespoon of rice and add it on top. Shape the content in your hand into a ball, making sure that the mozzarella is covered properly by a layer of rice.

Squash the ball and give it an oval shape. This requires a bit of patience, but by the 10th supplì you will have worked out your technique!

Coat the supplì in the egg whites first, making sure that every inch of the surface is covered in the whites. Then move it to the plate with the breadcrumbs and coat it very well, so that all the surfaces are completely coated. This is important to make sure that the supplì won’t break apart during the cooking.

Music on and we are good to go!

Carry on until all the rice is used up. What I usually do is to fry 20 supplì and freeze the rest.

Prepare a big plate and line it with kitchen paper. Set it next to the hobs.

In a small and deep saucepan add 500ml of oil and heat it up (ideal temperature is 180˚C). To test that the oil is ready, drop in some breadcrumbs. If they start making little bubbles and come to the surface immediately, the oil is ready.

Cook a maximum of 3 supplì in the saucepan at the same time. When you add them, let them cook for a few seconds first without moving them. Then keep stirring them very gently, turning them often until they get golden and crispy (this will ensure they do not get too cooked just on one side, and that the mozzarella melts properly).

Take them out and transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper. After the first 10-15 supplì, you might need to change the oil. Although I appreciate this may seem a waste, it is the right move for your health. And because frying food is only an occasional activity, it is acceptable.

Serve the supplì hot, sprinkle a bit of salt on top and share with your favourite person.

And no. No sauce is required as an accompaniment. This is a wild practice found in the UK: to serve croquettes, rice balls and the like with mayonnaise, garlic sauce or ketchup. This is not how suppli are eaten! It would mean destroying and covering up their amazing taste. You really do not need any sauce. They are beautiful and amazing as they are.

I do not need to be tarted up with sauces. I am gorgeous as I am


1. Rinse the rice . Peel and slice the shallots. Melt the butter in a skillet and add the shallots without browning . Add the rice and let cook until translucent. Bring the broth to a boil and gradually to the rice. Stir and cook over low heat, adding ladle by ladle the broth as soon as the rice absorbs it.

2. Dice the mozzarella . Pour the bread crumbs i n a plate. Form some small rice balls and insert 1 dice mozzarella . Roll them in the breadcrumbs .

3. Heat the frying oil. Gently dip the rice croquettes by three for 2 minutes. When they are golden brown , drain on paper towels . Serve hot with a salad.


1. Slice the onion and brown it in a pan with the olive oil. Add 100g of tomato pulp and the oregano. Add the rice and let marinate. Add the stock a bit at a time and stir regularly until a reasonably dry risotto is obtained. Remove from the flame and add one whole egg. Pour the rice onto a cutting board and allow it to cool.

2. Drain a small piece of tuna, place it in a bowl. Add the chopped mozzarella and the remaining tomato pulp.

3. Put a large spoon of the cold rice into the palm of your hand and add a small piece of the tuna and mozzarella stuffing, forming a ball with the stuffing inside. Repeat the operation until all the ingredients had been used up. Beat the remaining egg adding a pinch of salt.

4. Cover the rice croquettes with flour, run them through the beaten egg and top off with breadcrumbs. Deep fry until golden brown and crispy. Serve hot.

Recipe – Suppli’ (rice croquettes)

And I am talking about a REAL doughnut. Not a bready, lightly sugared ciambella attempting to pass itself off as a doughnut. No, I am talking about a full on, deep fried, drenched in glaze real life AMERICAN doughnut. What can I say? The Italians just can’t do the doughnut justice. Their ciambella is WAY too delicate. Italians cannot appreciate the art of deep frying and sugar the way Americans can. (And yes – – there is an art to it. If anyone has ever had a melt in your mouth Shipley’s doughnut they will know what I am talking about here.)

So why am I going on and on and on about my cherished American donuts? Well, because I miss specific foods from America, and Texas as well. The good news is I have learned how to make a lot of the things I used to take for granted (apple pie, hash browns, etc…). But the same was true for hubby when we were living in Texas. One of his big cravings were suppli’. Suppli’ are found in Rome and are often served as an appetizer (especially with pizza) or eaten as snack. They are rice croquettes and are similar to the better known arancini, but are smaller and have an oval/egg shape as opposed to being round. Most of the suppli‘ I have eaten contain only the rice and a melted mozzarella center, although generally they will also contain meat and maybe even mushrooms.

Back to hubby. In an effort satisfy his craving and be a nice wife, I came up with this recipe. I just kind of guessed at how they were made, so I am sure if there are any Romans out there reading this, they will put my “suppli’” right up there with my Italian “doughnut.” I have looked at other suppli‘ recipes and again, mine is a bit different, but, ok they made hubby happy and that was the initial intent, and they are always a hit at any party.

Often in Italy, these balls will often be made from leftover risotto and are said to be even more flavorful this way. Also, they can be made the day before and go straight from the fridge to frying. But I have to say, that neither of these two methods work very well for me because they always come out a little drier and I prefer a moist suppli‘. I am sure the Italians have some secret I am not aware of, but for the moment, this way works for me.

This is a basic recipe, but feel free to experiment. Mix it up by using other ingredients or even different cheeses for the center (it should be a cheese the melts well). I have included some preparation photos because unlike some of my other recipes that are laughably easy, I think the photos really help get across how to prepare these little guys.