Monday, August 22, 2011

Italian Rice Balls

It's week 5 in the Real Women of Philadelphia Cooking Contest. Congratulations to all the winners so far. Each winning recipe has been awarded $500.00 and a chance to get their winning recipe in the RWoP Cookbook Season2. I am working towards being one of them.

Ok It's INTERNATIONAL Appetizer week. We are challenged to get passports in hand and
create an appetizer inspired by another country. For me this is a no brainer. While I love lots of other countries appetizers my heart belongs to ITALY and this particular recipe has been in my family for forever. I just tweaked it a bit with the addition of Philadelphia Brand cream cheese and dare I say it was even a bit creamier and more delicious then ever. I am hoping its a $500.00 winner; nevertheless it is a winner in my family!

Recipe follows hope you enjoy.

Italian Rice Balls

These delicious little bites have been in my family forever. They are the most requested most loved appetizer. Family and strangers gobble them up. There is never enough no matter how many I make. The addition of the cream cheese in the rice balls as well as the dipping sauce just put them over the top. Yum!

1 cup cooked hot plain white rice
6 oz cream cheese (softened and divided)
8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
¼ tsp garlic powder
1 egg (slightly beaten)
1 handful parmesan cheese
5 basil leaves chopped
Salt pepper to taste
Italian Panko bread crumbs
8oz of your favorite marinara sauce (homemade or store bought)
Vegetable oil for frying

Cook rice according to package directions. Drain, do not rinse.
Place in a large mixing bowl and add 4 oz cream cheese along with the next 6 ingredients. Stir to incorporate & cheeses are melted.
Form into bite size balls. Coat in the bread crumbs. Set aside.
In a 2 quart sauce pot heat ½ cup of oil. You will know it’s ready when you insert a wooden spoon handle side in and the oil bubbles around it.
Fry the rice balls 2 by 2 until golden brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels.

For the sauce: in a sauce pot heat your marinara along with the remaining 2 oz of cream cheese until hot and bubbly. Add a dash of pepperoncino if desired for a little kick.

Prep time :30 min
Cook time: 20 min
Total time: 50 min
Yield : 30 rice balls

Until tomorrow Eat well live well

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