Food Buzz Badge

Sunday, January 1, 2012

And the Crowd Goes Wild (for Arancini)

Happy new year to everyone!

Like most people, I will be eating more salads and upping my exercise to get over the excess of the holidays.  The jeans still fit, but I know I've eaten too many bad-for-me foods over the past two weeks. 

But before I head into healthy-recipe season, I want to share the last of the fried recipes from Chrismukkah dinner.  To say these were crowd-pleasers is an understatement.  They disappeared just as quickly as I could set them out.

This recipe is ripe for experimentation, and you could make it with other varieties of risotto.  Just make sure to keep the mozzarella cubes small enough to pop in the middle of the rice balls, and after experimenting on the size I recommend keeping them about the size of ping-pong balls.

Arancini di Riso (Deep-Fried Risotto Balls)
Adapted from Lidia's Italy in America by Lidia Bastianich

5 cups low-sodium chicken stock
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cups Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine (I used pinot grigio)
1/2 tsp. truffle or kosher salt
1 tsp. fresh-ground black pepper
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 cup fresh Parmesan, finely grated
12 basil leaves, chopped
4 oz. fresh mozzarella, cut into small cubes
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, beaten
2 cups fresh bread crumbs, toasted

Vegetable oil for frying;  enough to have an each deep in the frying pot

Heat the chicken stock over medium heat in a small pot;  keep warm on the stove.  In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil.  Then add the onion and cook until lightly browned.

Add the rice to the onion, and toss to coat the rice.  Add the wine and bring the pot to a simmer. 

Add three cups of the chicken stock, the salt and pepper.  Bring the pot back to a simmer, stirring frequently until the stock is absorbed.  Then add the remaining stock in two installments and cook until the rice is al dente.  You will want to use all the stock.

Stir in the peas, then spread the risotto out on a baking sheet and allow it to cool to room temperature.  When it is cool, add the cheese and basil and fold to combine.

To assemble the arancini, wet your hands and take a quarter-cup of rice at a time and roll it into a ball.  Poke a cube of mozzarella into each and patch with a little more risotto to cover if necessary.

Prepare the breading station by putting the flour, eggs and bread crumbs into bowls.  Heat vegetable oil in a large deep pot;  make sure the oil doesn't exceed 350 degrees. 

Roll the arancini in the flour and shake off any excess.  Then dip the ball in egg and roll it in bread crumbs.

When all the arancini are assembled, add them a few at a time to the oil.  Fry until a deep golden color, turning them over with a wire skimmer to ensure they're browned on all sides.

Drain the arancini on cooling racks covered with paper towels.  Makes about 30 arancini.


  1. I can certainly understand why these disappeared so quickly! These sound delicious! Hope you're having a great New Years day!

  2. oh my goodness, I wish I didn't know these existed. I must make these ASAP!

  3. We need to balance our craving with healthy and sometimes not so healthy to please our tongue. The risotto balls indeed look a crowd pleaser. Have a happy New year!

  4. I've always wanted to make these - I <3 risotto so what could possibly be bad about fried risotto balls?! Definitely bookmarking!

  5. fried risotto balls look fantastic.

  6. Gosh, I have always wanted to make these. I just bought Lidia's Italy in America cookbook. Now we have two cookbooks alike (Mozza and Lidia). All the best to you and your family in 2012!~ Ramona

  7. Love risotto. Love anything fried. Perfect combination. I bet they did disappeared quickly!

  8. Oh yum this is a heavenly recipe thanks for sharing with these awesome instructions!

  9. Oh my gosh...these look so good! Risotto stuffed with a bit of cheese and deep fried! These are definitely worth indulging in! Happy New Year to you and I wish you all the best in 2012! : )

  10. You are a mind reader! I was just reading an article about them today! I remember when I lived in Sicily and had my first bite - it was indescribable. Really incredible...and these look incredible!

  11. Wow! These are so innovative and sound seriously delicious! Happy New Year! :)

  12. That looks really crispy and sure with the cheese inside, all the more I will enjoy them. I will also have it with some chilly dipping sauce.

    I am also looking at starting my exercising for this year and its not for weight control but more of health purpose. Sometimes I think exercise does wonder for the body pain and ache I am beginning to have already.

  13. I totally need to make this. Have a vat of leftover mushroom risotto in the fridge. Looks great!

  14. This is a delicious reminder that I do need to try these! I love risotto and I know that these would definitely disappear quickly at my house. Thanks for sharing this appetizer recipe-yum!

  15. Oh my goodness...what a great recipe!!!! Honestly wish I have them right here in front of me:))
    Have a happy, healthy and successful New Year!!!

  16. I had something similar to these as an appetizer at one of my favorite restaurants and thru are so good! I love risotto!

  17. They look perfect - leave it to Lidia. I have ordered them in restaurants and always been disappointed. Yes, it salad days here also... and brothy soups.

  18. I had Arancini di Riso for the first time this past summer! DELISH!!! And your version is just gorgeous!

  19. Oh you can never go wrong with arancini! It is soooo yummy and scrumptious!

  20. Oh my goodness. This is like fried ravioli on steroids. I want these right now!!

  21. Oh how I love these! The creaminess inside and the cirspy outside... perfect. I really have to make some! Thanks for sharing :)

  22. Oh these look so good...I'm also on a healthy kick - maybe a litte time off on a Saturday evening to make these little arancini! :)

  23. looks so amazing. mmmm deep fried goodness.

  24. This is something I've always wanted to make! Maybe I need to start a list of new foods to cook in 2012...arancini, bagels.... Thanks for the inspiration~

  25. Ahhhhhhhh arancini! The husband and I first tried arancini when we were in Italy last year. We were at one of those small Mom/Pop-type cafes and they brought out a complimentary basket of goodies, arancini included. We have been obsessed ever since. I simply can not wait to try this recipe. What a great dish to start the New Year with!

  26. These look so heavenly! The risotto is a great idea. I can see them being creamy and savory savory savory. These are on my list for to-do's :) Thanks!

  27. These look very good. I am sure Al would approve LOL