Curse you, Emiko Davies. Curse you Florentines. Curse you Tuscans in general. Curse you and your delicious fried morsels of joy that pop us just as my resolve for my New Year commitment is waning. We are in the throes of Carnevale season. Carnevale literally means to remove the meat. It’s the time leading up to the Lenten season and it is the time to indulge in all things decadent and excessive. In the culinary world, especially in Italy, that means fried things.
And since I am such a sucker for tradition, I (not so) begrudgingly scoured my resources for a new Carnevale treat to test out. For you, my dear readers, I set aside thoughts of a perfect carb free day and I threw myself into the task of making fritelle di riso. Did it mean an extra hour (or three) on the treadmill this week? You betcha. But let me tell you my friends, it was worth it. I know, I am such a giver. The things I do for you all. Love ya!
From Emiko Davies Website
This is one of Artusi’s recipes for frittelle di riso – he lists two in his 1891 cookbook Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well. This one appealed because it is the simpler of the two and didn’t involve yeast, but instead asks for stiffly beaten egg whites as the rising agent. It’s a less common version but one I love, they’re softer and fluffier than the standard frittelle di riso. Artusi dusts with icing sugar but today you usually find them rolled in regular sugar, which gives a lovely crunch as you bite down into these puffy little pillows of creamy rice.
Frittelle di Riso di Artusi - Artusi’s Rice fritters
Makes about 20
100 gr short grain rice
500 ml milk
1 tbs butter
zest of 1 lemon
1 tbs sugar
pinch of salt
splash of rum
50 gr flour
3 eggs, separated
vegetable oil for frying
icing sugar (or regular sugar if you want the crunch)
Cook the rice in the milk over low heat, covered, carefully checking every now and then that it doesn’t burn or overflow – don’t take your eyes off it! When the milk has been mostly absorbed and rice is soft and over cooked (Artusi makes a point of saying it should be cooked moltissimo), take off the heat and stir through the butter, zest, sugar and pinch of salt.
Let cool, then add the rum, flour and the egg yolks, setting aside the whites for later. Combine thoroughly and allow the mixture to rest for several hours before using. When you’re ready to cook them, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks and carefully fold in to the rice mixture.
Drop spoonfuls of the batter into hot oil, fry until evenly golden brown then transfer to paper towels to drain the oil before dusting with icing sugar and serving.