- 2 cups Arborio rice
- 5 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup finely chopped prosciutto
- 1 1/2 cups fine crumbs
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 teaspoon parsley, chopped
- 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano cheese, plus more to grate for garnish
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 4 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch (6-mm) cubes or, I found little mozzarella balls in the deli section of my market
- 4 cups vegetable oil
Combine the rice and broth in a large pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until the water is absorbed and the rice is creamy, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir occasionally to ensure the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Once the rice is cooked, remove and spread over a large baking sheet and let cool for 10 minutes.
Heat the butter and olive oil in a small pan over medium heat and add the prosciutto. Cook until it begins to crisp, about 2 minutes. Set aside. Once the rice is cool, combine it with the crisped prosciutto, egg, parsley, Parmigiano cheese, and salt in a large bowl.
Lightly wet hands, make a 2-inch (5-cm) round ball with the rice mixture. Add a cube of mozzarella cheese to the middle of the rice ball. Encase the cheese with rice and reshape into a perfect little ball, then set on a baking sheet. Repeat with the remainder of the rice mixture.
Pour ½ cup room-temperature water into a shallow bowl and place the morsel crumbs in another shallow bowl and set both aside. With your hands, lightly wet the outside of each rice ball with the room-temperature water, then roll in the morsel crumbs. Set them on the baking sheet.
Heat the vegetable oil in a Dutch oven to 350°F. Drop rice balls into the oil (they should fully submerge) a few at a time and cook until the outside is golden brown. Carefully roll the rice balls in the oil to ensure even cooking on all sides, about 3 minutes. I find a Chinese spider strainer works well to keep moving for even browning.
Transfer to paper towel lined sheet pan to drain. Repeat with the remaining rice balls. They are best eaten at room temperature, garnished with a sprinkling of grated cheese and I love dipping them in a thick marinara sauce.