Supplì cacio e pepe (recipe)

A recipe for supplì cacio e pepe, the Roman street food that I talk about in my most recent podcast, to allow you to bring Rome to your home.

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Supplì are the archetypal Roman street food, dating back until the early 19th century. After a brief fall from grace towards the end of the last century, supplì are now back centre stage and can be found everywhere in Rome. They grace the counters of bars, rosticcerie, pizza slice joints, and can be found as appetizers in trattorias and pizzerias as well as in posh restaurants. For more information, listen to my podcast on the subject, which includes an interview with Arcangelo Dandini who was one of the chefs at the forefront of the supplì revival.

As Arcangelo Dandini explains to me in the podcast, supplì start life as risotto which, if well made, will contain enough starch to hold the rice together in balls once the risotto has cooled. The classic supplì is made with chicken giblets and tomato and has a piece of mozzarella cheese at the centre. Other flavours have developed however, including supplì mimicking the three famous Roman pasta dishes of amatriciana, carbonara, and cacio e pepe.

In the recipe below, I have attempted to recreate a cacio e pepe supplì, based on hints and tips from my friend Fabio, a Romano DOC who runs a restaurant that serves excellent supplì, and Arcangelo Dandini. It starts off with risotto flavoured with pecorino Romano cheese and black pepper, which once cooled is formed into oval shapes, and deep-fried in breadcrumbs.

My risotto which has been allowed to cool.
The risotto formed into egg shapes.

You need to use a variety of Italian superfine rice—arborio, baldo, carnaroli, roma, or volano—for the risotto, otherwise the rice won’t stick together. I used a high-quality Piemontese carnaroli rice from Gli Aironi, who supply rice to Jamie Oliver no less. Supplì work best with slightly rough breadcrumbs made from stale bread. You can make these at home easily by whizzing pieces of stale or toasted bread in a mixer. The harder the bread at the beginning the better the result.

Coated in breadcrumbs and read to fry.
Ready to eat!

Supplì can be eaten either as aperitivo snacks, as starters to a meal of pasta or pizza, or cold as picnic snacks. They go really well with a nice glass of red wine. Buon appetito!

Buon appetito!

Supplì cacio e pepe

A recipe for supplì cacio e pepe, the Roman street food that I talk about in my most recent podcast to allow you to bring Rome to your home. Print This
Serves: 12
Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 350g (12 ounces) carnaroli rice
  • 1/2 glass dry white wine
  • 1 litre (2 1/2 pints) vegetable stock
  • 100g (3 1/2 ounces) grated pecorino Romano cheese
  • ground black pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour
  • 150g (1 1/3 cups) breadcrumbs
  • vegetable oil for frying

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil gently in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan.
  2. Add the onion and fry gently until it becomes translucent, about two minutes. 
  3. Add the rice, turn up the heart a little and toast it for about three minutes, moving it around with a wooden spoon. 
  4. Add the white wine all at once.
  5. Now add the stock, ladleful by ladleful until the rice is cooked al dente, about 14-15 minutes. Remember that the rice will continue to cook off the heat so it’s OK if the grains are still a little harder than you would expect. 
  6. Turn off the heat, cover the pan, and leave the risotto to rest for about two minutes. 
  7. Add the pecorino cheese and stir through the risotto until it has melted. 
  8. Add the black pepper to taste. The dish should be a little spicy. 
  9. Pour the risotto onto a large baking dish covered with tin foil and allow to cool completely.
  10. When the risotto has cooled, divide it into 12 equal portions. Squeeze each portion tightly in your hands and then form into egg shapes. 
  11. Beat the egg together with the teaspoon of cheese and the tablespoon of flour. 
  12. Dip each of the rice ‘eggs’ in the egg yolk mixture and then in the breadcrumbs. Gently press the breadcrumbs against the rice to make sure the supplì is well coated. 
  13. Deep fry the supplì at 180°C (355°F) for three and a half minutes. Place on paper towels to dry. 
  14. Allow to cool for a few minutes before eating. 

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