Arancini, which originated in Sicily, are fried, stuffed rice balls. They are usually filled with tomato sauce, ragú, mozzarella and peas.
- Difficulty: moderate
- Prep Time : 45 mins |
- Cook Time : 40 mins
1 Tbsp (15 ml) butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2 fat cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp (5 ml) dried Italian herbs
1½ C (375 ml) Arborio rice
4 C (1 litre) chicken stock (kept hot in a saucepan)
1 C (250 ml) finely grated Parmesan cheese
salt and freshly milled black pepper to taste
2 eggs, beaten
150 g mozzarella cheese, cut into 1.5-cm cubes (you need 20)
2 eggs, beaten, in a bowl
2 C (500 ml) dried breadcrumbs or panko crumbs, on a plate
vegetable oil for deep-frying
marinated olives and feta cheese
fresh basil or micro herbs for garnishing
In a large frying pan, heat the oil and butter over a moderate heat. Add the onion, garlic and herbs.
Reduce heat and gently sauté until the onion is soft.
Add the rice and give it a good stir until all the rice is fully coated in the onion mixture. Add the stock a ladleful at a time. Allow the stock to be absorbed before adding more. Stir all the while to prevent sticking. This process will take about 20 minutes. The rice should look creamy and soft but firm to the bite. Add the Parmesan cheese and mix until well combined.
Season to taste.
Spoon the mixture into a shallow dish. Leave to cool for 1½ hours – or pop in the fridge if you are pressed for time.
Add the eggs and mix until evenly combined.
With slightly wet hands, take 2 Tbsp (30 ml) of the mixture at a time and mould it into balls. Press a cube of mozzarella cheese into the centre of each ball and mould again to make sure they stay intact.
Dip each ball into the seasoned flour, then into the beaten egg and lastly cover with a generous coating of crumbs. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes or until you are ready to fry them. These can be prepped well in advance as they keep well in the fridge.
Heat the oil for deep-frying. Fry a few risotto balls at a time, for 5–6 minutes per batch. Shake or move them around every so often for even browning. Place the balls on paper towel to absorb the excess oil.
Serve with the Napolitano sauce and a mezze of marinated olives, feta cheese and artichokes.
• Instead of deep-frying, try baking the risotto balls in a preheated 200°C oven for about 20 minutes or until golden and crispy.
• Replace the mozzarella with a different cheese, such as goat’s, blue, feta or smoked mozzarella cheese.
• Use any leftover risotto mixture to make arancini with butternut, mushroom and bacon.