Where to Eat It: Rome

A smaller version of Sicilian arancini, these fried rice balls are named for the word “surprise” (albeit the French pronunciation), a reference to the oozing bit of mozzarella found inside. Though the recipe once included chicken gizzards, the ingredients have more or less stayed the same for the past century: rice, ragù made with ground beef and tomatoes, and mozzarella. Supplì were once sold by street vendors, but these days you can find the addictive croquettes at any Roman pizza spot or grocery store. The traditional recipe is still ubiquitous, but in recent years Romans have taken a liking to innovative versions that feature a wide—and, appropriately, surprising—range of ingredients.


  • Tomato sauce
  • ■2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ■1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • ■1 bay leaf (preferably fresh)
  • ■250g of sieved tomatoes (passata)
  • ■3 tbsp of water
  • ■sea salt and ¼ tsp sugar
  • Risotto
  • ■2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ■240g Arborio rice
  • ■sea salt
  • ■500 ml of vegetable stock
  • ■20g mature cheddar, grated
  • ■20g Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Supplí
  • ■breadcrumbs
  • ■1 egg, slightly beaten
  • ■20g mozzarella cheese, grated
  • ■sunflower oil


Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a pan and add the onion, cook over a medium heat for 5 – 7 minutes or until the onion has softened.

Add the bay leaf, sieved tomatoes, water and season with sea salt and sugar. Cook over a medium heat for 15 minutes or until the water is evaporated and the sauce has thickened. Set the sauce aside uncovered.

Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a pan and add the rice, fry, stirring, over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Lower the heat and add the vegetable stock, cover with a lid and cook for 10 – 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, the rice should be cooked al dente (firm to the bite).

Tip the rice into the tomato sauce and mix. When the risotto has cooled down, add the cheeses and gently mix. Place the risotto in the fridge to rest for an hour (even better overnight).

Pour some breadcrumbs onto a shallow plate, take a heaped tablespoon of risotto and shape it into a ball between the palms of your hands. Press a pinch of grated mozzarella cheese in the middle and cover with risotto. Dip the supplí into the beaten egg, then roll it in the breadcrumbs until evenly coated.

Heat the oil in a non stick frying pan, add the supplí, and then quickly fry for 2-3 minutes on each side until lightly golden. Remove the supplí from the pan and drain it on absorbent kitchen paper.

Serve with a crunchy salad.

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