Supplì al telefono

Today’s recipe takes us to the Italian region of LazioLazio is a coastal region in Central Italy and it includes Rome, the capital of Italy.  Many of the most popular Italian dishes come from this area.  They include carbonara, amatriciana, abbacchio, carciofi alla giudia and many more.  So stay tuned for more recipes from this beautiful region!  Today I want to share with you the recipe of supplì al telefono: fried rice balls filled with mozzarella. The name itself is lots of fun as it literally means supplì “on the phone”, because if you open them when still warm, the cheese inside that has melted while cooking, will stretch between the 2 halves similar to the wire of a telephone.  The term supplì comes from the French word surprise.  These make a fantastic appetiser or buffet dish… but I often serve them as a main.  And believe me, when you start eating one, it is hard to stop!  The original recipe also calls for chicken liver and dried mushroom in the meat sauce, but I preferred to keep it simple and used only beef mince… they were divine!  Enjoy and remember to check out all my other posts on Regional Italian recipes!


Recipe adapted from Giallo Zafferano

Ingredients: (makes about 20 supplì)
1 lt beef stock
30 + 50 gms – 2 tbsp + 3 tbsp butter
200 gms – 7 oz. beef mince
½ onion, minced
120 gms – 4.25 oz. Parmigiano Reggiano finely grated
200 gms – 7 oz. mozzarella, cubed
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
400 ml – 13.5 oz. tomato purée
Salt & Pepper to taste
500 gms – 1 lb. rice for risotto (Arborio, Carnaroli, Vialone Nano)
2 eggs
100 ml – 3.33 oz. white wine
Breadcrumbs and 2 eggs for coating
Vegetable oil for frying

Start by preparing the meat sauce.  Sauté the onion with 30 gms – 2 tbsp of the butter and extra virgin olive oil until soft (1).  Add the beef mince (2) and brown well, breaking all the lumps (3).  Then add the wine (4) and burn off the alcohol (5).  Add the tomato purée (6), season with salt and pepper and let the sauce cook on a slow fire for about 20 minutes or until the sauce thickens.

Now add the rice (1 – 2) and then add the stock little by little (3).  Cook it as you would cook a risotto, but only for 2/3 of the normal cooking time (4) (I usually cook it for about 13 minutes), as the rice will keep on cooking while the fire is off and while cooling down.  If you cook it fully, then you will get mushy rice.  Also, the final risotto will need to be on the dry side to be able to make balls out of it, so keep that in mind when you add the stock towards the end.  When ready, put the fire off and add the 50 gms – 3 tbsp of butter and the finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano and mix well (5).  Also add the 2 eggs, lightly beaten, and mix well (6).

Now pour the rice over a sheet of baking paper and spread it well so it cools down fast.

When the rice has cooled enough to handle it without getting burnt, make 20 balls with it (1).  Make a hole in the centre of each ball with your thumb (2) and insert 2 or 3 cubes of mozzarella into it (3).  Close the ball by pressing it and shape it like an egg (4).

Here is a short video I taped:

NOTE: it will help to wash your hands frequently and keep them wet, in this way the rice will not stick to your fingers.

Beat the eggs in a bowl.  Put the breadcrumbs in a separate plate.  Dip each supplì in the egg (1) and then coat well with breadcrumbs (2), pressing with your palm so the crumbs stick well to your supplì (3).  When you have done this for all the supplì, re dip them in the egg (4) and coat again with breadcrumbs (5) to obtain a double coating (6).

Deep fry them in warm vegetable oil (make sure it is not too hot or the mozzarella inside will not melt), rolling them around with a slotted spoon.  Remove them and put them on a plate lined with kitchen paper to drain the excess oil.  Serve warm!

Supplì al telefono

Supplì al telefono

Supplì al telefono

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  1. says

    I recently went out to dinner and had an appetizer like this. As soon as I tasted it, I knew I wanted to make it at home. Thanks for the tutorial! The rice balls look amazing (but how can you go wrong with fried anything with cheese in the center!!!)

  2. says

    Oh, Manu! That top photo is incredible!!! What a fabulous dish…and you’ve made these perfectly (not that I’d expect anything less of you!!!). Brava!

  3. says

    I have saved this recipe, these look so delicious! I have seen other recipes, but yours does look the most flavorful. The colored risotto was the clue on that! Always glad to see your tasty posts, Manuela-keep them coming. Yum!

    • says

      Hi Divya! Thanks! :-) I have a very old post on arancine (one of the first I published)… but it has no step by step pictures… I will be updating it shortly as we made them yesterday!!! 😉 The main difference is that arancine’s rice is made with saffron and no meat sauce, and then they are filled with bolognese sauce, mozzarella and peas. :-)

  4. says

    Ooooohhhh – how could one resist the cheese oozing from the centers! The photos really sell this – you can almost taste them. Love the video! I’m curious on the angle – were you wearing a headcam or did you have the camera strapped to your chest? How did you get that angle? Another great recipe Manuela!

    • says

      Hehehehe very good observation MJ!! Actually my husband took the video… from around my neck/shoulder. Sounds weird and it was not very comfortable… but it gave a good angle I guess! 😉

  5. says

    I would love to make these….I have a feeling that mine would not turn out as well as yours. I’m pinning this to make later, when I feel adventurous.

  6. Lou says

    Oh my goodness we love suppli… my husband and I go every year to Rome and this is my husband’s favourite food ever! Each time we return home we always try to recreate these little balls of heaven called suppli by following a number of different recipes. Having just returned from Rome last Monday we have just tried your recipe and we have to say it is the best we have found!! This is the most authentic recipe that we have tried and it is very close to the dish that we love, albeit we’re not sitting with a glass of Italian vino in a Piazza in Trastevere on a warm summer evening, without a care in the world!!!! Very nearly though, many thanks for your recipe! L & D

  7. says

    THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS RECIPE!! I am so excited. I spent a semester in Lazio region and ate all of these foods and have missed them terribly. I am so excited to get home and try these recipes.

    I could cry I am so happy!


  1. […] per assaggiare un supplì. Se poi, come me, voleste prepararli in casa, mi sembra che la ricetta di ManusMenu sia la più adatta,  sul suo sito trovate le foto step by step e un video su come realizzarli, […]

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