Can I be a snobby world traveler for a second? The first time I ever tried arancini was in Rome (but they call them “suppli” there). The second time I ever had arancini was in Sicily. Like, where arancini originated. And the experience? Out of this world. It’s the best street food around, and at a euro or two a pop, you just can’t beat them.
It’s been about 4 years since I was in Italy, and I had forgotten all about these balls of delight (rice balls of delight. Get your head out of the gutter). So when I went to a friend’s birthday party at a local Italian restaurant a couple months ago and saw arancini on the menu, I. Had. To. Have. Them. And ever since then, I’ve been battling cravings for them. So finally, I caved. And ohmigod, am I glad I did.
These were SO good. Warm, gooey melty cheesy center. Creamy risotto. Deep-fried goodness. Ok, I’m stopping now because my stomach is growling again. Don’t be surprised if these are on next week’s menu too. And the week after that…
- Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
- 2 cups leftover risotto, cooled
- 2 large eggs, beaten to blend
- 1/2 c. grated Parmesan
- 1 1/2 c. dried Italian-style bread crumbs
- 2 ounces mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Pour enough oil in a heavy large saucepan to reach the depth of 3 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat to 350 degrees F. I don’t have a kitchen thermometer, so I just guessed by placing my hand over the saucepan and checking for warmth. Don’t let the oil get to the point of smoking though.
Stir the eggs, risotto, Parmesan, and 1/2 cup of the bread crumbs in a large bowl to combine. Place the remaining breadcrumbs in a medium bowl. Using about 2 tablespoons of the risotto mixture for each, form the risotto mixture into 1 3/4-inch-diameter balls. Insert 1 cube of mozzarella into the center of each ball. Roll the balls in the bread crumbs to coat.
Working in batches, add the rice balls to the hot oil and cook until brown and heated through, turning them as necessary, about 4 minutes. Don’t freak out if the oil starts popping. Just turn the heat down a little. Also, cover yourself with towels if you’re wearing a nice shirt. I’d share a picture of me covered in towels, but it’s rather embarrassing. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the rice balls to paper towels to drain. Season with salt. Let rest 2 minutes. Serve hot.
You can thank me later.
Yields 6 servings.
Recipe from: Giada on the Food Network