Arancini (Rice Balls)
Arancini are balls of rice, that have been stuffed with cheese, coated with bread crumbs and then, deep fried or oven fried. In Italian, the word Arancini literally translates to “little orange” a term used to describe its small golden shape.
An all-time favorite of mine. I fondly remember my Sicilian grandmother and her sisters making Arancini for the holidays. Not as widely available, when I was growing up, Arancini could also be purchased from an Italian street festival, such as The Feast of San Gennaro, an event that I attended many times, when I was a kid. https://sangennaronyc.org/
Making the Rice Balls
Though not difficult to make, you will need to set aside some time to make them. Believe me, they are so worth it!
Arborio which is used to make risotto is without a doubt, the best rice to use when making rice balls. You will need to prepare the rice ahead of time, allowing time for the rice to be completely cool before mixing with the eggs, cheese and other ingredients.
There are a several variations of Arancini, including tasty combos such as cheese and prosciutto or diced eggplant filling. Though, perhaps best known is a cheese only or meatball mixture filling, that may or may not contain peas. In my easier to make version, I simply combine the rice and cheeses. This in turn, take less time to make and my kids just love them.
Making a Batch
As I said before, Arancini is a memorable part of Sicilian-American tradition. Somewhat time consuming to make, I created a version that captures the best traits of a traditional version with a modern twist, in less time. In fact, I have used my own recipe for many special occasions. They make a tasty addition to any party antipasto platter and I am happy to share my oven- fried version with you.
- 3 cups cooked, cold Arborio Rice
- 1 cup grated Parmesan, separated
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- 2 tbsp. chopped Italian Parsley
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup melted butter
- 1 1/2 cups Panko Bread Crumbs
- 1 tbsp. dried Italian seasoning
- Olive oil for coating pan
- First, combine in a mixing bowl, the rice, 1/2 cup parmesan, mozzarella and parsley.
- With your wooden spoon, stir in the beaten eggs,
- Next, shape the mixture into 2-inch balls.
- Then, in a shallow bowl, combine bread crumbs, seasoning and 1/2 cup parmesan.
- Dip the balls in a bowl of the melted butter, then roll them in the breadcrumb mixture and place on a tray.
- Refrigerate for at least an hour.
- Preheat oven to 350°
- Finally, you can use cooking spray, or just drizzle your oven tray with olive oil and rub it all over, like I do.
- Cook until golden and heated through, at approximately 18-20 minutes.
In addition, I serve my Arancini with a side of tomato sauce for dipping. https://moppinaandwoodenspoon.com/2020/08/06/simple-tomato-sauce/