What to do with leftover Risotto? Arancini is your answer. Arancini are basically rice balls that are stuffed, breaded and fried. What could be better than that?
The name Arancini translates to “little oranges” due to it’s shape and color. They are Sicilian in origin.
You can fill them with cheese, mushrooms, meat, tomato sauce or whatever suits your fancy. I chose to fill mine with cheese, and some with crispy pancetta. Feel free to experiment with different cheeses. I filled some with smoked mozzarella, smoked provolone and some with pecorino.
You can serve them as an appetizer, snack or if you eat enough of them (like I did), as a main dish.
Step 1: The making of a basic Risotto
Melt 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a heavy pot. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pot.
Add 1 chopped onion and saute till tender, about 5 – 8 minutes.
Measure 1 1/4 cups of Italian rice. I used Carnaroli rice. You can also use Arborio rice.
Stir in rice.
Make sure to coat the rice well with the butter/onion mixture. Stir the bottom of the pot, making sure not to let the rice stick.
Add 2/3 cup of dry white wine. Cook until absorbed, about 3 minutes or so.
Heat up 4 – 6 cups of chicken broth. This can be done on the stove top or in the microwave.
Add 1 cup of hot broth to the rice, cooking over medium-low heat. Once the broth is absorbed, add more hot broth. Risotto needs to be stirred frequently, no make that constantly. You don’t want the rice to stick to the bottom, once the broth is absorbed. Continue this pattern of adding hot broth, 1 cup at a time, and stirring, until the rice is tender and creamy. This will take about 25 minutes, give or take. You may find that you need more broth. It takes anywhere from 4 – 7 cups of hot broth to make Risotto.
I added 1 cup of frozen peas to my Risotto, about 5 minutes before it was done. Make sure to season with salt and pepper to taste.
add 1 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Stir. Note: This is a very basic Risotto recipe. You can get more elaborate by adding different things, such as mushrooms, saffron, etc. I kept it basic for the arancini recipe.
Place the Risotto in a bowl or shallow baking dish, to cool. If you were to eat it as Risotto, then you would serve it right away with some more grated Parmesan cheese on top.
I let the Risotto to cool overnight in the fridge. This way the flavors meld well with the rice.
Step 2: Making of the Arancini
Beat 2 large eggs in a mixing bowl…..
Add the leftover Risotto, 1/2 cup of bread crumbs, and 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Mix well with your hands.
Form rice balls with your hands. I have experimented with size, and found that the size of a golf ball works best.
I used 3 different types of cheese. Cheeses that melt well, work best. Smoked mozzarella is my favorite.
I also fried up some diced Pancetta.
Make a hole in the rice ball. I used my pinky to make the hole.
Stuff with a cube of cheese,
and whatever else you want to stuff them with. I filled a few with Pancetta, (this is optional). Reform the ball, closing the hole.
Once you form all the rice balls……
Roll them in bread crumbs, coating them well.
In a large skillet, heat up the vegetable oil so it’s nice and hot. You want enough oil to come up the sides of the rice balls. It really all depends on the size of your skillet. I have found that Safflower oil works great for frying. Safflower oil tolerates high heat very well.
Fry till golden brown and cooked all the way around. This will take about 4 -5 minutes.
Remove from hot oil and drain on paper towels. Surprisingly, they were not oily at all. They were just right!
1 1/4 cup Italian rice, such as Carnaroli or Aborio rice.
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 onion, diced
1 cup of frozen peas
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large eggs, beaten
2/3 cup white wine
4 – 7 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cup bread crumbs.
Vegetable oil for frying
Salt & pepper to taste
Step 1: Making of the Risotto – Melt 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a heavy pot. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the butter. Add 1 cup of diced onion to the butter, saute until tender, about 5 – 8 minutes or so. Stir in 1 1/4 cup of rice, making sure to coat the rice well with the butter. Add 2/3 cup of white wine to the rice, cooking until absorbed. This will take about 3 minutes or so. Add 1 cup of hot broth to the rice, cooking over medium-low heat. Once the broth is absorbed, add more hot broth. Risotto needs to be stirred frequently. You don’t want the rice to stick to the bottom, once the broth is absorbed. Continue this pattern of adding hot broth, 1 cup at a time, and stirring, until the rice is tender and creamy. This will take about 25 minutes, give or take. You may find that you need more broth. It takes anywhere from 4 – 7 cups of hot broth to make Risotto. Add 1 cup of frozen peas to the rice, about 5 minutes before the rice is done. Season with salt and pepper. Add 1 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese, blending it well. Place the Risotto in a bowl of baking dish, and cool overnight in the fridge.
Step 2: Making of the Arancini – Beat 2 large eggs in a mixing bowl. Add the Risotto, 1/2 cup of bread crumbs and 1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese to the mixing bowl. Mix well. Form balls of rice with your hands. The size of a golf ball works best. Once the rice balls are formed, make a hole in the balls. I used my pinky to make the holes. Stuff with a cube of cheese. You can also stuff with other things, such as tomato sauce, mushrooms, whatever. I filled a few with crispy Pancetta. The only rule to follow, is to make sure you add the cheese. Once filled, reform the rice ball and roll in bread crumbs, coating the ball evenly. In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil until hot. Make sure there is enough oil in the pan to come up the side of the rice ball. Cook over high heat, until golden brown and cooked all the way around, about 5 minutes or so. Remove from the hot oil and drain on a paper towel. The gooey cheese in the center is best enjoyed while hot, so serve immediately. Enjoy!