I Don’t Deep Fry

August 1, 2008

The weekend before the Exam That Shall Not be Mentioned Again, I maybekindasorta kicked Kevin out.  He’d been looking for a good time to take a trip to D.C., where we lived for two years after college, to visit our friend Seth and I more-than-gently suggested that weekend.  But before you start to feel sorry for him (he’s a very sympathetic figure, that one … especially when his wife is kicking him not just out of the house but out of the state too), you should know two things.  First, I would’ve made awful company that weekend (for a quick mental image: there was a lot of pacing around, reading flashcards out loud; not exactly an ideal Saturday).  Second, I just ended up missing him all weekend and longing for D.C. too.

Which brings me to today’s recipe.  You see, while Kevin was in away, I couldn’t stop envisioning D.C.’s sultry summer air, the blocks we’d walked hundreds of times, the always-present political conversations, the pleasant hum of activity, and, of course, the restaurants we’d grown to love.  One of those was 2 Amys, an excellent pizzeria that served frisbee-sized Neopolitan pies, wine in small tumblers and also an appetizer called suppli al telefono (which are also called arancini or, even better, mozzarella-stuffed risotto balls). 

(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)

While Kevin and I have something of a knack for seeking out delicious pizza wherever we are, we haven’t been able to find suppli on any Chicago menu.  So, after one too many conversations recalling 2 Amys’ piping hot, irresistable fritters, I decided to try making them.  The risotto was easy enough.  And shaping food into balls happens to be a kitchen task I find quite satisfying.  And I figured that tucking a morsel of mozzarella into the balls couldn’t be all that tough.  The only problem was: I don’t deep fry.  I am deterred by the danger, the stench and the clean-up (what does one do with a pot full of spent oil?).  And while these suppli are traditionally fried, I had a feeling we could get away with a baked version.

Turns out, I was right.  As with all baked versions of fried-stuffs, they’re admittedly not quite the same.  But they are still very good, with a crunchy, parmigiano-flecked exterior that enveloped first a pillowy layer of risotto  and then, then, an oozy epicenter of mozzarella.  If I can’t be back in D.C. at least I can have these suppli.

Baked Suppli al Telefono

Prepared Risotto (made from a 1/2 cup of dried arborio)
1 egg
2 ounces mozzarella, torn or cut into pea-sized pieces
1 cup dried bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated parmigano
salt and pepper
1 warm cup of your favorite marinara (I like a simple puree of fire-roasted tomatoes)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  In a shallow bowl, combine 3/4 cup of bread crumbs, the parmesan, salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Combine the risotto, egg and the remaining bread crumbs in a large bowl.  Using a small ice cream scoop or your hands (if using your hands, it helps to keep them wet), shape the risotto into roughly tablespoon-sized balls.  Cradling a shaped ball in your palm (to keep the shape intact), use your thumb to tuck a piece of mozzarella into the center of the ball and reshape the ball around the cheese, so the cheese is fully enveloped.  Place each formed and stuffed ball onto a plate.  When all the risotto has been used, place the plate in the refrigerator for 15 to 30 minutes.

Once the balls have chilled and firmed up, roll each one in the bread crumb mixture and place them on the prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, turning halfway, until the suppli are golden brown.  Serve with the marinara and toothpicks for dunking.


16 Responses to “I Don’t Deep Fry”

  1. Alex Rihm Says:

    Beautiful! Perhaps I will have to make a pilgrimage to 2 Amy’s when I return to DC in December.

  2. OMG these look too lovely to eat! 🙂

  3. Amy Says:

    I live near DC! and my name is Amy. I think I need to visit that place!

    I want to make these yummy treats – I love cheese and hors d’oeuvres, and cheesy hors d’oeuvres

  4. Mary Says:

    2 Amy’s is indeed delicious. I like the idea of baking these little balls instead of frying. I also have an aversion to frying food in my kitchen for the same reasons you mentioned. Although I do like fried foods quite a bit (my favorite down fall in fact).

    I will try these!

  5. The only question is, large balls or small balls? Small balls will make me think that I’m not eating as much. Although if I finish off the whole batch, it’s all the same. 😉

    How many ways do I love these suppli?

  6. Paula Says:

    Ooooh, these look really tasty. I like how they are baked vs. fried. I’ll have a double batch, please!

  7. RecipeGirl Says:

    These look delicious! Good call on baking over deep frying.

  8. cookinpanda Says:

    These look incredible. I always tend to bake fritter like things instead of frying them– they’re not quite as “delicious” I suppose but they’re exponentially healthier (and easier to deal with).

  9. suzannemarya Says:

    We miss you in DC! Come back and visit — there’s a little bambina here who wants to meet you! I’ve never had the suppli at 2 Amy’s but since we’re not doing too many restaurant outings these days, I’m going to try your recipe at home. p.s. Congrats on the Bar exam – what a relief! p.p.s. Jim quit (will email you).

  10. Kevin Says:

    Those look tasty!

  11. Alex: I highly recommend it.

    Design for Mankind: No such thing!

    Amy: I think so too! Now hurry along …

    Mary: Glad to know there’s another 2 Amys lover out there!

    js: The small ones are easier to eat, I think. One bite wonders.

    Paula: Thanks!

    RecipeGirl: Thank you!

    cookinpanda: I’m with you.

    Jerry: Indeed!

    Suzy: Hello! I wish I was closer. I’d be delivering batches of these suppli and all manner of foods (all as an excuse to visit the bambina, of course).

    Kevin: Thank you!

  12. christina Says:

    These look so yummy and although they are baked – seem authentic. We just got back from sicily and had them – yum!! If I wanted to add peas – do you think I should add it to the risotto as I finish it up – or add it when I add the egg and breadcrumbs to the cold risotto? (might be harder to mix in that way! I also had some at a local restaurant that used panko as the breadcrumbs – yum!! Thanks so much for your help and for sharing your recipe!

  13. Maria Says:

    What a great snack! I made homemade sauce recently and it is in the freezer, these will go great!

  14. Christina: I would add the peas to the risotto at the end (at the step where I normally add parmigiano). A trip to Sicily? So lucky!

    Maria: Thanks! Give them a try!

  15. Matt Says:

    I love the suppli al telefono at 2Amys. The idea of making my own non-fried version at home makes my day. There’s nothing like cracking open the crisp outer shell, releasing a waft of steam and revealing the creamy innards… The only hard part is figuring out how to share the serving of 5 balls they give you.

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