Saturday, 30 July 2011

S.P.Q.R. (or the rice balls on the phone...)

When I am feeling home nostalgic and the only place I would like to do is walking on the river bank or enjoying the little wine bars and trattoria of Trastevere, or a grattachecca in front of the Tiberina island, the only way to face the blue is to cook something traditional and bring my mind back home with Roman flavours.
This is why once again here I am writing about some Roman local recipes. Most of the time the result will be extremely tasty and quite fat, but that's how we like it, sometimes!
This time is going to be a starter whose name will be difficult to pronounce and also slightly weird: suppli' al telefono(on the phone).

Before explaining why are they called this way here is the recipe…
You will need to prepare a light ragout, with onions, carrots, olive oil and minced beef. Suppli could be done with a simple tomato sauce as well but personally I prefer the meaty ones. It is important though not to exceed with the ragout…it has to colour and lightly dress the rice, nothing more.
Boil the rice, mix it with the ragout and leave it on a side. Originally suppli' were done with the rice left over from the day before but this was when people was not wasting food as there was not that much available.
When the rice will be cold, then mix an egg and whisk another one in a bowl to use later. Make some balls with rice sized and shaped like a big egg and put 2 mozzarella cube in the middle. Then pass the rice balls in the whisked egg and in breadcrumbs and finally deep fry it in hot oil.

Golden rules:
- do not fry them for too long, their colour should be golden brown, not too dark.
- eat them when still hot…when you bite it the mozzarella inside should melt and follow you creating a white line between your mouth and the rest of the suppli…like a phone wire….and that's why "on the phone"!
- have a glass of wine from the Castelli Romani…a Frascati or a Marino, something simple and light but with a lively acidity to clear your mouth.

PS: If you are in Rome you will be able to find them in any Pizzeria al taglio or Rosticceria, those typical kind of takeaway places, but the best in town are for sure the ones from the Pizzeria Ai Marmi in Trastevere, also locally called Obitorio (mortuary) for its marble tables without table clothes…you will have to queue for them but you'll be highly rewarded!