Arancini di Riso

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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.

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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…

Ingredients:

  • 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
  • Salt

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.

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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.

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Yields 6 servings.

Recipe from: Giada on the Food Network

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