You can go out into the city, walking in the historical centre of Rome and come by at Pizza Mami. You’ll find handmade supplì al telefono (rice balls with tomato sauce and gooey “phone cord like” mozzarella). Big, crispy, expressly cooked and with a nice chunk of gooey mozzarella, as dictated by Roman traditions. In alternative, you can try and make them at home. But of course, in that case you wouldn’t be able to taste them warm and gooey while having a stroll through Piazza Navona or the majestic Chiostro del Bramante, but we should satisfy this insatiable craving anyway, don’t we?
To prepare some good supplì following the tradition, you should cook the rice into a meaty tomato sauce, but not everybody is fond of that. Often people cook the rice into a simple tomato and basil sauce, much lighter and just as good. To make 10 homemade supplì, you should first dice the mozzarella into small dice and let them drain a bit, to get rid of excess water. Then you should cook the superfine rice until al dente. During its cooking, it’s better to use some vegetable stock or some hot water, that should be absorbed gradually. Once the 250g of rice is cooked, and draining it of any excess liquid, you season it with salt and pepper and let it cool in a bowl. After the rice has cooled, start moulding it into the typical oval shape of the supplì. Before closing them down, don’t forget to put a bit of mozzarella in the middle that, after frying, will become the gooey centre of your delicious homemade supplì. Now, beat an egg in a bowl and put some breadcrumbs in a second bowl and pass each supplì in the egg first and the breadcrumbs later, making sure to coat them all without breaking them.
The most delicate moment, the one that will determine the success of the recipe is the cooking. We are deep frying them, so put a deep pot with a good amount of vegetable oil on the stove and heat it until it reaches 180°C. Then, with extreme care, you must lower some of the supplì into the pot, turning them with care. When the supplì are deep golden brown, you can take them out and place them in a dish covered with some kitchen paper. After a minute or so, they’re ready to be enjoyed, maybe together with a good Italian craft beer.
As we’ve already said, the cooking is delicate, also because getting the “phone cord” like effect, you must have gooey mozzarella. The temperature of the oil must be on point, to not let the rice overcook. To get this right, a bit of practice is needed, but to bite into a warm supplì and seeing the mozzarella string up from within is a sacrifice worth doing.
Where does the supplì name come from? Although they’re typical of the region of Lazio, the name is an adaptation of the French word surprise, which means “surprise”.
If you don’t want to bother making them, then you can’t miss the supplì at Pizza Mami. We’re waiting for you!