I always include these as part of any antipasto platter. They are bite size portions and compliment the other antipasto selections.
Sometimes these are called bocconcini and are sold packed in watery whey; sometimes they are sold packed in olive oil.
However you buy them, they will work in this recipe. You can make any quantity and leftovers are great the next day tossed in a salad or as the filling in an omelet.
Because this is such a simple recipe, it’s important to use the best extra virgin olive oil you can find and the freshest basil. It makes a difference in the taste.
The prep time is less than 5 minutes, and it can be done the day before or just before the guests arrive.
MOZZARELLA BALLS WITH BASIL AND RED PEPPER FLAKES
EVENT: Weeknight Sit-in-the-Kitchen Dinner
SERVES: Calculate at Least 2-3 Mozzarella Balls per Person
Mozzarella balls in water or oil *
1 bunch fresh basil
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried basil
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Drain the mozzarella balls in a colander.
2. While they are draining, slice the basil: To preserve the delicate flavor, stack all the basil leaves and roll them lightly into a cigar shape. Slice the leaves perpendicular to the cigar roll.
3. In a large bowl, gently combine the mozzarella balls, olive oil, fresh basil and red pepper flakes, and dried basil.
4. Toss to coat each ball thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add more pepper flakes if you prefer more heat.
5. Store in refrigerator overnight. Remove and allow them to come to room temperature before serving.
* A NOTE: I buy the mozzarella balls at Costco.