The supplì, the rice croquettes like in Rome, are one of the madeleines. They can accompany you for years in all seasons, at all ages, in pizzerias, in the street, and at the beach. They are synonymous with cheerfulness, carelessness, and great indulgence. What a pleasure to bite into this crispy, hot, red croquette with this spinning heart that makes us smile every time. These supplements were a huge success! A generous and deeply Italian mini meal in one bite. Today we offer you the more traditional recipe (after the supplì to the amatriciana).
A Little History of Supplì Al Telefono, Roman Rice Croquettes
The supplì is a typical dish (street food) of Rome; it falls into the category of rustici and can be found in trattorie (served as an antipasto), pizzeria and rosticceria, friggitorie (roasters and fried stuff stores very widespread.
Traces of this dish can already be found in writings from the mid-19th century. But what is interesting is its concept and its journey. Legend has it that its origin is Sicilian, that of arancini, rice balls, very aristocratic, an all-in-one meal is eaten outdoors (especially when hunting). Elaborate cuisine or recycling leftover meat sauces (more luxurious than rice) from the day before, these rice balls began to have an identity of their own. And the cooks of the aristocracy distributed them in Naples and then in Rome (and more particularly in the kitchens of the cardinals). Then this dumpling became popular, less rich, a young dish that is eaten without ceremony, often in the street.
The particularity of the Roman version, therefore of the supplì, lies first of all in this name which is derived from the French word surprise (and yes!) because there is a gift there, the mozzarella spinning to the heart. Then they are still called today (the name dates from the 60s-70s′) the supplì al telefono because when you open them, there is a long wire which recalls that of the old telephones (the new generations did not know them).
By the way, it’s not a risotto at the base! Risotto is a dish from northern Italy, more recent than rice croquettes. It is simply rice cooked in water or in a sauce by absorption. So it’s easier and less stressful than risotto.
What Is The Difference Between Arancini And Arancine?
First of all, the identity, as seen above, is a Roman evolution of the arancini. Then the elongated shape (while the arancini are either round or pyramid-shaped), the presence of the heart of mozzarella, and also the assembly: in general, in the arancino or the arancini, the meat sauce is hidden in the heart, the exterior is made of rice.
What Are The Ingredients Of The Supplì?
We will give you the ingredients for the more traditional version based on meat sauce (in fact, it was made with poultry offal) after you have some suggestions for variants below.
- minced meat
- tomato sauce
- onion (or garlic if preferred)
- pecorino cheese
- frying oil
The Steps to Prepare the Rice Croquettes
- Preparation of the meat sauce (ragù)
- Cooking the rice in the sauce (you can also opt for separate cooking of the rice in water, which is then added to the sauce)
- Cooked rice bound with egg and cheese,
- Cool rest
- Formation of meatballs with the heart of mozzarella
- Coating and rest
The Secrets to Successful Rice Croquettes and Frying
- Quality of the rice: you need rice that releases its starch slowly and does not come off while keeping its identity (no sticky or very soft rice). Risotto rice is ideal, but in Italy, we also use another type, less luxurious and all-purpose, Roma rice (unsurprisingly).
- Cooking rice: a bit like a risotto (same principle of absorption but an easier, older, and southern process: we put everything in the liquid) the rice must be soft and creamy but still firm (not hard) to heart because in addition, it will continue to cook while cooling. Base yourself on the cooking times of risotto and taste.
- Coating: there can be two or three steps; the important thing is to seal well, coat, and form a protective and crunchy layer. Most of the time, it is made of egg (sometimes we start with flour) and fine breadcrumbs. Some do a double. Otherwise, like here, we gave you another Italian tradition with a pastella, a mixture of flour and water.
- Frying at the right temperature, 170°C: this is crucial to having a crispy, tasty supplì, cooked through but not soaked in oil. The frying must just sear the dish and allow rapid cooking (a few minutes because the croquette is thick).
Bonus: can we cook the supplì in the oven? (of course, it won’t be the same thing at all in terms of texture contrast Yes! In this case, we advise you to start with frozen supplì and cook them, still frozen, for twenty minutes at 170°C with a drizzle of olive oil.
How to Store Rice Croquettes?
Good news! You can proceed in stages (over two days, for example), doing it well in advance so that you only have to fry at the last moment. That’s what we do, even if you got guests (basically, it’s just a few minutes, and they’re so happy afterward).
- Refrigerated: you can keep the raw and coated supplì on a tray, covered, and refrigerated for 24 hours.
- In the freezer: once coated, put them flat in an airtight box (without overlapping or sticking them) and keep them in the freezer for up to a month. Then all you have to do is plunge them still frozen into the frying bath at 170°C (be careful, the temperature will drop, so increase the heat so that there are always small bubbles around, it’s very clear on the video). In this case, it will take 8 to 10 minutes of cooking (turning halfway through cooking).
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