YOU (South Africa) - - LIFESTYLE -

Moz­zarella has a neu­tral taste and is one of the best cheeses for melt­ing. It’s ideal for these rice balls as the fill­ing has a strong flavour.

MAKES 10-12 BALLS Prepa­ra­tion: 20 min Cool­ing: 1-2 hours or overnight Cook­ing: 50 min

30ml (2T) olive oil 1 onion, chopped 2 gar­lic cloves, crushed 250ml (1c) Ar­bo­rio rice 2,5ml (½t) dried thyme 125ml (½c) white wine 625ml (2½c) veg­etable or chicken stock 60ml (¼c) grated hard Ital­ian cheese salt and freshly ground pepper 150g moz­zarella cheese, cubed 125ml (½c) flour 2 eggs, whisked 375ml (1½c) bread­crumbs oil for deep-fry­ing

TO SERVE le­mon wedges fresh herbs sea salt flakes

1 Heat the oil in a deep pan and fry the onion and gar­lic un­til soft. Add the rice and stir-fry for 5 min­utes.

2 Add the thyme and wine and stir-fry un­til the liq­uid is ab­sorbed. Add the stock a lit­tle at a time, stir­ring con­tin­u­ously – wait un­til the stock is ab­sorbed by the rice be­fore adding more.

3 Stir-fry un­til the rice is just cooked but still firm. Stir in the cheese and sea­son with salt and pepper. Spoon the rice into a shal­low dish and cool in the fridge for 1-2 hours or un­til chilled and sticky.

4 Shape the rice into wal­nut-size balls. Press a cheese cube into the mid­dle of each ball, mak­ing sure the rice com­pletely cov­ers the cheese.

5 Roll the balls in the flour and dip into the whisked egg then the bread­crumbs. Dip the balls into the egg again and then into the bread­crumbs.

6 Heat enough oil for deep-fry­ing in a deep saucepan and fry the balls in batches un­til golden and crispy. Re­duce the heat if the balls brown too quickly – re­mem­ber they have to cook long enough for the cheese to melt).

7 To serve Serve hot with le­mon wedges, fresh herbs and sea salt flakes.

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