Supplì - Rome's Favorite Street Snack
Updated: Jul 22
Ah, supplì! Onion, tomato sauce, rice, mozzarella, and breadcrumbs - deep-fried. Comfort food made for snacking.
What I would give to be walking around Trastevere in between classes listening to Beyonce's Lemonade with a few supplì; Running from class to catch the train for work with a supplì; Having one too many supplì at aperitivo; Finishing a night out with a supplì. ALWAYS supplì!
There are so many wonderful things about Rome - its history, art, and architecture. But, supplì deserves its only little spotlight. A uniquely Roman snack, I've had my fair share of variations from cacio e pepe, to supplì bianco, and sweet supplì filled with warm Nutella. But, the classic with tomato and mozzarella has to be my favorite. And, while I always find myself missing Italy this time of year, I decided I'd try my hand at the street food favorite.
Although my favorite thing about supplì is that cheese-pull moment as you break open the center, the tomato sauce is truly the base, providing nearly all the flavor. For this reason, I knew I needed to choose a great tomato sauce. I chose Otamot, created by a father hoping to encourage his daughter to eat more vegetables. The sauce is packed with red bell peppers, carrots, sweet potatoes, beets, spinach, and so much more. These flavors give the sauce a bright, roasted flavor that isn't overpowered by sweetness, saltiness, or those classic flavors often packed into sauces that outshine the tomato itself.
So, hurry up and grab a jar of Otamot, arborio rice, mozzarella, and breadcrumbs and get your supplì fix!
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cups tomato sauce
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 cups arborio rice
- 1/3 cup mozzarella, cubed
- 4 cups water, veg. or chicken broth
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
- salt & pepper to taste
- oil for frying
1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan, add onion and saute until golden brown and cooked through.
2. Add tomato sauce, stir to incorporate onion. Add rice and honey, season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine.
3. Cook over medium heat for 15-minutes, allowing liquid to evaporate from the sauce. Stir constantly to prevent the bottom from burning.
4. When the liquid has evaporated and the sauce is sticking to the rice, add 1 cup of water or broth at a time, stirring constantly until all the liquid has evaporated. Add more liquid and repeat this process until the rice is al dente and dry.
5. Transfer to a large plate and pat the rice into a thin layer - let the rice cool completely.
6. Once the rice is cooled, roll a ball of rice into a rounded football shape. Press your thumb into the center and fill with mozzarella. Close the rice mixture, adding more on top if needed. Form into a rounded football and continue this process until all of the rice and mozzarella are used.
7. Prepare to fry by heating 2 inches of oil on medium-high heat. Cover the rice balls in the egg mixture and into the breadcrumbs until completely coated. Fry both sides for 30 - 45 seconds or until dark brown, turning carefully with tongs. Remove from the oil and place on a paper towel or napkin to absorb excess oil. As soon as they are cooled to the touch, break open through the center to enjoy a good cheese-pull!
*Tip: season your breadcrumbs with garlic powder, thyme, red pepper flakes, sage, and black pepper.