October 30, 2008

Arancini (Rice Balls)



I used proper risotto rice for this attempt at Arancini and I'm really pleased with the result. I decided on the conical shape after watching a video on Youtube of someone making arancini and I thought it looked more appealing than just a round ball. I also found that when it came to cooking them, I had more control to get them evenly brown on all sides, rather than them rolling around in the oil.
Making arancini from scratch takes some time and preparation, but it is ideal if you have leftover risotto, which means you can pick up this recipe from step 3.
This amount makes 8 Arancini Balls, so perfect to serve as a starter with a Roasted Red Pepper sauce (recipe to follow). I managed to eat 2 with my dinner, but Steve ate 5 so you may need to double the quantity if you're cooking for people with healthy appetites!
Next time I want to try stuffing them with meaty bolognese - yum!

You will need:

  • Saucepan to cook the risotto
  • 1 small bowl for the beaten egg
  • 1 medium bowl for the breadcrumbs
  • Medium saucepan with about 2 inches of hot oil
  • 1 baking sheet to keep cooked arancini warm in the oven

  • 1.5 cups risotto rice, e.g. arborio
  • 3 cups hot stock (you may need an additional 1 cup stock)
  • 8 mini mozzarella balls or chunks cut about 2cm cube
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • About 1 cup panko breadcrumbs (or normal breadcrumbs)
  • For added flavour you can add 1/2 cup parmesan to the breadcrumbs

  1. Cook the risotto rice until it is nice and tender, but not mushy. I used a Mushroom and Herb flavoured risotto to give it more flavour.
  2. Allow the risotto to completely cool and then put it in the fridge.
  3. When you're ready to make your arancini, remove the cooked rice from the fridge. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4/180°C/350°F.
  4. Heat the oil in the saucepan until a few breadcrumbs dropped in the oil sizzle and go brown within a few seconds.
  5. Have the beaten egg ready in a small bowl and the breadcrumbs ready in a medium bowl.
  6. Divide the risotto into 8 portions. Wet your hands and take 1 portion and shape it with both hands into a hollow cone with the pointed end at the bottom. Place a piece of mozzarella in the middle and then seal the hole with the rice, creating a flat bottom. Put your arancini on a plate whilst you shape the rest of the rice.
  7. One by one, dip the arancini into the egg and then the breadcrumbs, making sure they are well coated. I like to put a small amount of breadcrumbs in the bowl and then add more as I complete each arancini. This prevents all your breadcrumbs becoming all glued together as they come into contact with the egg.
  8. When the oil is ready, carefully place 2 to 3 arancini into the oil and cook for about 4-5 minutes, turning so that they are nicely golden brown on all sides.
  9. When they are ready, place them on a baking sheet and pop them into the preheated oven to keep warm whilst you cook the rest.
  10. When ready to serve, rest them on paper towels to soak up any excess oil before plating up.


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