Lets make some Italian stuffed rice balls..yumm

Every now and then I like to share some of my Italian upbringing with some home cooking recipes.  These originated in the southern part of Sicily where my family is from and were a regular sunday treat growing up. Today my family was craving rice balls which are easily found in many Italian deli’s and Pizzerias in New york city..Not in Miami Beach. Not a rice ball to be found. However nothing is as good as homemade. So please enjoy the below instructions.

The stuffing
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound ground beef
½ cup onion, chopped
14 ounce can Italian plum tomatoes, crushed
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 cup fresh peas, or frozen peas

salt & pepper to your taste.

5 cups chicken stock, canned reduced-sodium chicken broth or water
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups white rice
4 large eggs
2 cups Pecorino Romano, grated


3 eggs
2 cups fine dry breadcrumbs with 1 cup locatelli parmesan cheese
⅔ cup canola  oil to fry

have a fun Italian Sunday : )

In a large saute pan, saute the onion until soft add meat until it is brown then add remaining ingredients and simmer for another 8-10 mins on med heat.

While the meat is cooling, make the rice. Bring the stock or water and 2 tablespoons olive oil to a boil in a 3-quart saucepan. Stir in the rice, return the water to a boil, then adjust the heat to simmering. Cook the rice uncovered, until done. put in a large bowl to cool to room temperature. When the rice is cool, scrape it into a mixing bowl and beat in the 4 eggs and the grated cheese.

Take a handful of the cooled rice mixture and shape it into a small ball in the palm of your hand. Make a well in the center of the ball with your finger and drop in about a spoonful of the meat mixture. Work the rice so that it completely encloses the meat, and re-form the rice into a smooth ball.

Beat the eggs in a mixing bowl.  Have the breadcrumb mixture on a flat plate

Roll the rice balls in the beaten egg to coat, allowing any excess egg to drip back into the bowl. Finally, roll the rice balls in the bread crumbs, pressing lightly to coat evenly with the crumbs.. Remove to a clean baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining rice balls.

When the oil comes to temperature, carefully slip about a third of the rice balls into the oil. Fry, turning as necessary with tongs or a slotted spoon, until golden brown and crisp on all sides, about 4 minutes. Remove to the paper towel-lined baking sheet, keeping them hot in the oven if you like. Fry the remaining balls.

I hope you enjoy these with the people you love also.♥♥♥


Eat, love and then pray…..

I grew up with two parents that were the epitome of what the term soul mate means. They were very much in love. Even later in life they still acted like teenagers with each other.  One of the things they instilled in me and my sisters are love can conquer many things and ALL relationships take work, love, respect and honesty.  My dad passed away five years ago and I think about him every day.

I often think what was the secret that they knew that kept their love alive for almost 5 decades.

Is it that they came from a different time? A different generation? Things were different back then family values meant something. Is that it? Or did they have “the formula ” to a perfect romance.

They fell in love and never fell out of it. So what is it? Growing up with them I can recall that they very rarely argued or raised their voices. I can’t recall ever hearing my dad even say a curse word in front of me my whole life. Not my mom, but my dad. Is it the respect that they had for each other coupled with love is that the formula? Love, laughter and if possible find some humor in it.That was my dad always smiling. Always making fun if he could .

I do remember much of our family activity centered around the dinner table. Both my parents love to cook . Making big breakfast and dinners for the whole family and always insisted we all eat together and talk about everything and anything. All discussions took place there. All marriages, pregnancies, college decisions, boyfriends were announced at that table.  They were both Italian both from Sicily, but were really raised here in America.  They kept the old school values alive even though they were very modern parents they kept the values of family alive. Their love for one another was just a magical thing. I guess they really were soul mates. My mom believes in her heart that they will meet again in another life and on the other side. I hope she is right. I also hope I get the privilege of being their child again in another life. I still pray to find the kind of love they had together.

So I share with you one of my dad’s favorite recipes and a Sunday dinner staple growing up.

I am giving you the meatballs recipe you can use any tomato sauce you like. But ours is a family secret.  😉

Papa Joe’s Meatballs

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk with 6 slices of white bread (ends cut off) soaked in milk. Then discard left over milk.
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 leaves of fresh basil finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated locatelli parmesan cheese
  • 1 medium onion chopped finely

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl by hand.

Use your bare hands for best results.

Roll meatballs to about the size of a little bigger then a golf ball.

Fry  in a pan with olive or canola oil make sure to brown all sides

Simmer for about 2 hours in your choice of tomato sauce. Serve with fresh spaghetti .