Pomegranate Fontina Rice Balls

Use these Italian style rice balls to complement our chicken-liver crostini.

  • Yield: Makes about 50

Source: Martha Stewart Living, December 2009


  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 pound arborio rice (2 1/3 cups)
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 6 cups water, plus more if needed
  • 3 small sprigs rosemary
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (4 ounces)
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup diced fontina cheese (4 ounces)
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 4 cups fine plain breadcrumbs
  • 4 large eggs, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • Safflower oil, for frying (about 8 cups)


  1. Heat grapeseed oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, and cook until soft and translucent, about 7 minutes. Add rice, and toast, stirring often, for 2 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat. Add wine. Heat over medium-high heat, and cook, stirring constantly, until wine has reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add 2 cups water and the rosemary. Cook, stirring constantly and adding 2 cups water at a time, plus more if needed, waiting for each addition to be absorbed before adding the next, until rice is al dente, about 20 minutes more. Discard rosemary sprigs.
  3. Add Parmesan and butter, and season with salt and pepper. (Mixture will loosely hold its shape.) Transfer to a baking sheet, and refrigerate until cooled, about 2 hours or overnight.
  4. Transfer rice to a bowl, and stir in fontina and pomegranate seeds. Form into 1 3/4-inch balls, and transfer to a clean baking sheet. Place breadcrumbs on a plate. Roll each ball in breadcrumbs to coat, then in egg mixture, then again in breadcrumbs, returning to baking sheet as you work.
  5. Heat 4 inches safflower oil in a medium pot until a deep-fry thermometer reaches 350 degrees. Working in batches, carefully drop rice balls into oil, and fry until golden, about 2 1/2 minutes. Transfer to paper towel-lined plates to drain. Sprinkle with salt.