Arancini are rice balls that have been stuffed with cheese, breaded, and fried. You start by making a risotto as the base and this in itself is creamy and delicious. Then you form a ball with the Risotto and add cubes of mozzarella cheese. The result is a crispy ball with a creamy, cheesy center. These little balls are perfect for entertaining, simply served with Marinara sauce. They can be made ahead and reheated when you are ready to serve them.
Arancini are a labor of love! Be prepared to spend some time when making them. You need to have patience when making the risotto and pay close attention to it. Once that is done the rest is pretty simple and easy and well worth the effort.
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 cup aborio rice
- ½ cup white wine
- 4 cups chicken stock
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped fine
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 4 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut into ½ inch cubes
- 2 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- Canola oil for frying
- Marinara sauce for serving
The first step of making the Arancini is to make Risotto for the base.
Heat the stock over high heat until it starts to simmer. Turn the burner down to low and keep the broth warm.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook for 2 minutes until it begins to soften. Add the rice and cook for 2-3 minutes until the grains become translucent.
Add the wine to the pan and cook, stirring often until most of the wine is absorbed and the rice is almost dry.
Add one cup of the warm broth to the rice and make sure it is on a low simmer. Stirring often, cook until most of the broth is absorbed. This will take about 5 minutes. When the rice is almost dry, add the next cup of warm broth and repeat the process, stirring often until that cup is absorbed and the rice is once again almost dry.
Add the third cup of broth to the pan.
Make sure that you are keeping the heat low and the rice is always on a very low simmer. The rice needs to be cooking very slow to absorb the broth in order to become tender. Also make sure that you are really stirring the rice every minute or two. The rice will stick to the bottom of the pan if you do not. Risotto requires time, attention and patience!
When the third cup of broth is absorbed, taste the rice to test for tenderness. If it is still to firm, add another ½ cup of broth and stir until it is absorbed. Taste the rice again and add the last ½ cup of broth if needed, stirring until it is entirely absorbed.
Remove from the heat and add the parmesan cheese, parsley, salt and pepper. Combine well.
Let the Risotto cool and then cover it and place it into the refrigerator for 1 hour so it becomes firm.
To make the rice balls:
Pour the beaten eggs into a pie plate. Place the bread crumbs into another pie plate.
Scoop a rounded tablespoon of Risotto from the pan. Make an indentation in the rice and place 2 cubes of mozzarella in the center. Form a round ball making sure that the cheese is completely covered. Roll the ball into the beaten eggs and then into the bread crumbs rolling to make sure that the entire surface of the ball is well coated. Place the ball onto a piece of wax paper and continue the process until all of the balls are formed and breaded.
Pour the canola oil into a 10- 12 inch skillet about ½ inch deep. Heat over medium low until you see it start to haze. Drop a couple bread crumbs into the oil to see if they will bubble and cook.
Add ½ of the balls to the pan. Cook for 20 seconds of so and start turning the balls with a fork so they can cook evenly on all sides. When the balls are an even, golden brown all over, remove to a paper towel lined plate. Cook the other ½ of the balls the same way.
You can make these up to 2 days ahead of time and refrigerate. To reheat, spray a baking sheet with cooking spray or brush with olive oil. Place the balls into a pre-heated 350 degree oven and bake for 20 minutes.
You can make these ahead and freeze them. Place the balls onto a baking sheet lined with waxed paper into the freezer. When they have frozen solid, remove and place into a plastic freezer bag for up to 30 days. Defrost before reheating.
To serve, heat your favorite Marinara Sauce and place in a small bowl on a platter with the Arancini.