Arancini di riso (crispy fried risotto balls)
|November 7, 2009||Posted by ameliaps under any season, appetizers, fried, fry, left-overs, rice, risotto, side dishes|
In Italy, when life gives us left-over risotto (see how I make carrot parsnip risotto HERE), we make arancini. They are little balls (shaped like oranges, hence the name) often stuffed with anything from meat, cheese, peas, mushroom, tomato sauce, and prosciutto. Arancini are a perfect antipasto. They can be eaten with your hands and go great with either prosecco or a beer. I like serving mine in brown paper cones – street-food-like. When they are just stuffed with cheese and shaped like oval croquettes they are called suppli’ (they should be “al telefono” meanining with the melted cheese forming long stringlike strands like an old fashioned telephone cord!).
Arancini di Riso (crispy fried risotto balls)
Makes about 20 risotto balls, depending on size
3 cups leftover risotto (any flavor), cooled
3 ounces of mozzarella or fontina cheese, cut into ½-inch cubes
2 cups all purpose flour (or more, as needed)
3 large eggs, beaten well
2 cups breadcrumbs (or more, as needed)
Grated zest of 1 orange
salt & pepper for seasoning
Peanut (or other high-smoking point vegetable, such as canola or sunflower) oil, for frying
Place about 1/3 to 1/2 cup risotto in your palm (have wet hands) and use it to enclose a piece of mozzarella (and feel free to be creative with any other additions), pushing into the center, then roll again to make sure the rice has surrounded it on all sides. Set on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and repeat until you have used up all the leftover risotto and cheese.
Create your breading station: line three dishes with flour, beaten egg (seasoned with salt, pepper and grated orange zest) and bread crumbs.
Once all the balls have been rolled out, working one at a time, dip and roll the balls in the flour first, then in the beaten egg and turn to coat entirely. Lift and allow any excess egg to drip off, then roll in the breadcrumbs until completely combined. Again, shake off any excess and place back on the parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the risotto balls.
Place tray in fridge for 30-60 minutes.
Line a large tray with paper towels.
Heat 3-4 inches of the oil in a deep heavy-bottom pan or heat deep fryer to 375 degrees F.
Remove risotto balls from the fridge.
Fry the arancini no more than 3 to 4 at a time until golden brown, turning on each side, about 4 minutes in total.
Remove with slotted spoon and place arancini to drain on tray lined with paper towels. Season again with sea salt. Serve hot or room temperature, with beer or prosecco.
If you really wish you can serve with tomato marinara sauce (but this is NOT customary in Italy!!!) and a leaf of parsley. They are cute this way though, I must say…
Here are a few tips:
- dampened your hands with water while shaping the balls
- use gloves when breading them (this will avoid a sticky gooey mess on your hands)
- cool the shaped balls for a while in the fridge before frying (they’ll keep their shape better)
- have the temperature of the oil as close to 375F as you can
- if you have a large batch keep the ones already fried warm in a 200F oven
- fry and serve immediately if you can!!! the cook usually does not eat, goes a Neapolitan saying