Whenever the munchies overcome my weak will power and I feel like something tasty but not too heavy that is authentic Italian and reasonably priced, one of my favorite destinations in NYC is Bocca. An elegant eatery in Gramercy, a neighborhood packed with culinary heavyweights, Bocca is a Roman restaurant that offers culinary specialties for every palate. Executive chef David Buico has designed lunch and dinner menus that feature the most savory old time Roman classics, like Tonnarelli Cacio e Pepe, home made pasta served with precorino romano and coarse black pepper, Maccheroni alla Gricia, bronze casted and slowly dried pasta served with guanciale, coarse black pepper and pecorino di fossa, Maialino al forno e carciofi alla romana, slow roasted suckling pig with roasted fingerling potatoes and artichokes, and many other favorites.
But that’s not all – something else is worth mentioning, something that many restaurants don’t really pay too much attention to: the bar menu. At the bar it is possible to satisfy any craving and the crowd’s favorite is Supplì al telefono (Fried rice balls “on the phone”).
Filling yet smooth, Supplì al telefono is a dish that is very popular in Rome and it’s not unusual, when making risotto, to make some extra on purpose in order to make these delicious rice balls using the leftovers (common belief is that when the rice is older it holds together firmly so that the balls do not break during the frying process). The name comes from the dish’s visual effect, meaning that when you bite into the supplì the melted mozzarella that is hiding in the flavorful rice flows out in long strips, somehow resembling the cord connecting a telephone handset to the hook. Arborio and/or Carnaroli rice is perfect for making supplì.
Supplì can be seen as a variant of Sicily’s arancini or Naples’ palline di riso or as a kind of croquette.
By Natasha Lardera