Pauline Nittoli Villa

Pauline’s notes:  This is an old family recipe direct from Sicily. When my cousin Lucy was alive she would be frying them and family members would stand around her and eat them while still hot.

19 to 20 Balls

  • 1 lb. Arobio rice (1 box)
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp butter

COOK RICE as converted rice. Boil water, add salt, butter and stir in rice. Bring to another boil. Cover; simmer for 20 mins. Allow to cool before adding other ingredients.

  • 1 1/2 cups grated Italian cheese
  • 8 tablespoons tomato sauce
  • 3 eggs, beaten

ADD these ingredients with cooled rice.

  • 3/4 lb. lean, ground beef
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 4 tablespoons tomato sauce
  • salt to taste

WHILE RICE is cooking, brown beef. Add onion and cook. Drain. Cool.

WET HANDS. Cup them and then fill with some of the rice mixture. Add about a tablespoon ground beef mixture. Opt. Cut up small pieces of fresh mozzarella cheese and place in center of beef. Can also use a cooked pea. Then use more rice to complete ball. Balls should be about 2″ in diameter. Keep hands moist to make forming balls easier. Roll in flour (or bread crumb for crispier balls). Shake off excess flour.

FRY in about 2″ of olive oil in deep fryer for 3 to 4 mins. Keep replacing balls when one is removed.

SERVE HOT. To reheat, place in 450° for about 10 mins.