Rice Balls with Meat Sauce

Total Time

Prep: 50 min. + chilling Cook: 1 hour


6-8 servings

Updated: Oct. 04, 2022
My mom's deep-fried rice balls, flavored with traditional Italian cheeses, make a hearty main dish. She serves them with her special spaghetti sauce - my favorite - featuring ground beef and artichoke hearts. -Concetta Maranto Skenfield, Bakersfield, California


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (14 ounces) water-packed artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained and chopped
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 jar (4-1/2 ounces) sliced mushrooms, drained
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 eggs
  • 2-1/2 cups cooked rice
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 ounces cubed part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup dry bread crumbs
  • Oil for deep-fat frying


  1. In a large saucepan, cook beef, onion and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the next nine ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  2. For rice balls, in a large bowl, lightly beat 2 eggs. Stir in the rice, butter, Parmesan cheese, parsley, salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Roll into 1-1/2-in. balls. Press a mozzarella cube into each; reshape balls.
  3. In a small bowl, lightly beat remaining egg. Dip each ball into egg, then roll in bread crumbs. In a deep-fat fryer or electric skillet, heat oil to 375°. Fry rice balls until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Discard bay leaves. Serve meat sauce with rice balls.