Rice Cakes with Mozzarella and Tomato

Learn to make Crocchette di riso con mozzarella e pomodoro with Mario Matassa’s Italian rice cake recipe

rice cakes in pan with mozzarella and tomato middle

Okay, if you form the exact same ingredients set out below into a ball, then arancini is the word you’ll be looking for. But, while working the lunch menu in restaurants here in the north, we more often formed leftover rice into patties, which were then breaded, pan-fried and listed as crocchette on the menu.

But whatever you want to call them, or whatever shape you want to form, the next time you make a risotto this is as good an excuse as any to make that little bit extra. Crocchette make the perfect light lunch menu or snack and everyone loves them!

I must stress that the success of this Italian rice cake recipe relies on using cooked risotto rice. Its sticky consistency is perfect for holding the shape of the patty. The size of the patty is entirely up to you- you could make small bite-sized patties to serve with an aperitivo (the size of a large walnut) or, as I prefer, larger patties to serve with a salad for a light delicious lunch.


➤ PREPARATION 15 minutes

➤ COOKING 15 minutes


  • 2 plum tomatoes, sliced
  • 125g fresh mozzarella
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 100g fine breadcrumbs
  • 350g cooked risotto
  • olive oil for frying


  1. Good preparation is key. Make sure before you begin assembling that you have chopped your tomatoes and mozzarella into slices, placed the eggs in a bowl and whisked them together, placed the breadcrumbs in another large bowl and have a large plate or tray ready for the finished cakes.
  2. Begin by placing a large tablespoon of rice in the palm of your hand and flatten out slightly. Place a slice of tomato and a slice of cheese in the centre. Take another tablespoon of risotto and place it over the top and gently using both hands shape into a patty.
  3. Dip into the egg and then into the breadcrumbs. Once done, place aside and continue making the cakes until all the rice has been used up. If your hands begin to get too sticky and the rice difficult to work with, just wash your hands, but don’t dry them as wet hands make the mixture much easier to work with.
  4. Finally, heat the olive oil in a frying pan and when hot cook the cakes, turning once until golden and hot all the way through. Serve hot or cold.

Recipe and photo by Mario Matassa

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