how an irish lass came to make a mean rice ball!

hi.  i’m jeanie hornung.  friends with “the appreciator”. 

when i met my husband it was pretty much love at first sight…i mean he was just smitten with me (hehe)!  not long after that, we went to his home town of gloversville, ny to meet the fam.

well, i’m about as irish as the day is long but was delighted to meet his family which is SO italian! 

and when i say italian…I mean ITALIAN…

i met them all….uncle charlie, uncle mimi, uncle fonzie, cousin mario, cousin chuckie and of course grandma and grandpa franco.  they were (and still are) loud, loving and full of life! 

they also love to eat

they pride themselves and argue about who makes the best puttanesca, pizza rustica, potato gateau and stroffoli.  rice balls happen to be a particular franco family favorite and it is accepted  that grandma franco made the best rice balls.   her rice balls were on every holiday table and made frequent appearances for weekly sunday dinners.  grandma franco passed away a couple of years ago and we miss her a lot.  grandpa still carries on her tradition and makes rice balls every time we’re home to visit.

we make grandma’s rice balls on occasion 

and i can’t think of a better way to honor her memory than to pass on not only her recipe but love of family to my children.  try as i might to perfect them, they still let me know that while my efforts may be acceptable, they are still not grandma franco’s rice balls!

this is a picture of the Our Lady of Mt Carmel Church cookbook that grandma gave to me with her rice ball recipe included among some other gems. 

rice balls recipe

1 lb of river rice (or long grain rice)

3 eggs

parsley ( no measurement…so just guess)

1 stick of butter

salt and pepper to taste

1 handful of grated cheese (no specifics here either, but we’re Italian so go with Parm)

Breadcrumbs  ( use what you need to bring mixture together)

boil rice until almost cooked.  drain and put in bowl.

add eggs, butter, parsley and remaining ingredients including enough breadcrumbs to firm up the mix.  

mix well with hands until nice and firm. 

roll into balls  – a little bit bigger than golf balls.  roll into breadcrumbs.

deep fry in the fat of your choice ( this sentence make me laugh).   make sure the fat is piping hot.

cook until brown. this is what they look like before you put them into the fat of your choice:

you can serve with or without red sauce,

but always with a big loud dose of italian love!

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  1. The fat of your choice made me laugh too. My Grandma once said, “sometimes you just want a good piece of fat.” That was a Great Generation.

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