When I was growing up my family would travel to my nonna’s house every fortnight. I always remember her cooking in this antique-style kitchen and my brother and I retreating to the comfortable lounges under this big religious artwork and relaxing by watching some mundane television for 30 minutes until lunch was served. It smelt so good. And even when my stomach was so full of home-made pasta and meats and salads, my nonna would say “mangi mangi” (eat up! eat up!).
I have fond memories of eating this food at the table with my family, my dad always sitting across from my brother and I. The food served was always made with great care, probably from recipes past down and with lots of loving in them. I used to enjoy a couple of these croquettes as the ‘second meal’ – the meal after the pasta, even if I was full they were very hard to resist.
My aunty showed me how to make these charming little Italian croquettes and I am very thankful. Now that the recipe has been passed down to me, I’m going to give them a go on my own.
I made these for a church fundraising event and it makes 60 croquettes so you would have to bring them to a party or freeze them!
3 cups short or medium grain rice
4 medium potatoes, quartered
2 cloves garlic
10 parsley stalks
3 handfuls of parmesan cheese
1 packet of breadcrumbs*
500 ml canola oil
*You can buy the ones with cornflakes to give it a stronger yellow colour.
prepare rice: In a large saucepan, fill water close to the top. Pour the rice in and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Once the rice is cooked, rinse it to remove the starch.
prepare potatoes: Boil some water in a kettle and place the potatoes in a colander in a large saucepan. Pour water over the potatoes until just covered. Steam them with the lid on for about 20 minutes.
prepare mixture: In a large mixing bowl, mix the rice and potatoes together. Add the parmesan cheese, garlic and parsley. If the mixture is too soft, add more rice.
dunking the croquettes: Crack the eggs into one deep plate and pour the breadcrumbs in another deep plate. Wash your hands so that the mixture doesn’t stick to your hands. Build a factory line if you can (have another person helping to quicken the dunking). One person shape the croquettes into ovals with a rolling technique with your hand palms (this takes practice). The other person carefully dunk the croquettes into the egg briefly (make sure it is well covered) and then roll it around in the breadcrumbs mixture to coat it.
cooking the croquettes: When you’re ready, heat a deep-base pan and use 500ml of canola of oil for deep frying. One set of croquettes should take about 6 minutes.
Enjoy and pass them round the table!!