Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Arancini--Fried Risotto Balls

Hot arancini served in a shallow bowl of heated marinara sauce

One of the things I love to eat is risotto. I had never made it myself until a few years ago, and it is a great dish to make with the bits and pieces from your fridge and pantry. I find it is not hard to make, it just takes a little time and attention. This week, while I am home for Christmas vacation, I am planning on making some other things I love to eat but have never made, like arancini, rolled balls of leftover risotto, mixed with breadcrumbs and hiding a nugget of melty mozzarella in the center. So I made a larger than usual batch of risotto, with mushrooms, asparagus and bits of carrot in it, and happily stowed the leftovers until the next day. I added a few things, and gave it a try. They proved to be easy to prep and easy to cook.

Here is what I did:

1 cup leftover, cold risotto
1/4 c. parmesan cheese
1/4 c. panko bread crumbs
salt
pepper
1/4 cup of shredded mozzarella
1 egg white

I stirred these all together, and then prepped the coating. Mix these in a shallow dish:

1 cup panko
salt and pepper
1/4 c. parmesan cheese

(You will need vegetable oil for frying)

and to stuff inside I had about 1/2 c. of mozzarella shreds, but I really should have had a small 1/2" cube of mozzerella for each ball. The shreds worked fine, but were harder to close up inside the rice ball. This made about 8 arancini.

This leftover risotto had asparagus, which i picked out so it wouldn't make the balls hard to form.
I took about 1/8 of a cup of risotto mix and formed a ball, then created a dent in the center with my finger, added some cheese, and then closed the rice around it, reforming the ball, and sealing the cheese inside.

Roll the formed arancini in the panko/parm dish, coating all over. and set aside. Do this until all the risotto is used.
These are about the size of a golfball? give or take . . . 
In a deeper frying pan, heat about 1/2 inch of vegetable oil until about 350 to 375 degrees (I am estimating). Add the arancini gently to the oil, you should hear a sizzle. Let them get slightly golden before turning them, and then let them crisp up on side and then roll them some more.
Arancini means orange, so let these fry until they are golden and toasty on the outside.

(Some people fry these in deeper oil, but I think these came out great using less and just turning them while they cooked.) Drain on paper towels, and eat as is, or serve with warmed marinara or other pasta sauce. When cutting into them, you should get gooey, stringy, melty mozzarella cheese.

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