Arancini are delicious Italian rice fritters. Flavorful cheesy rice is enclosed in crunchy crumb. Made with arborio rice, turkey, porcini, peas & cheeses.It is not without reason that Italians are considered the kings of comfort food. Pizza and pasta are go-to foods when it comes to a winter’s night in. Arancini is another cheesy carbohydrate that Italian chefs excel at. It is perfect as a starter, canapé or even a main meal. It is made of rice, coated in breadcrumbs, and can be filled with a tasty ragù, garden peas, and mozzarella cheese. This makes for a cheesy flavour bomb that we can’t get enough of!
With just a few essential tricks, you can make your own Arancini that tastes just as good as any Italian restaurant’s version.
What makes arancini so delicious is the crispy outer coating in contrast with the delicious soft centre. You can use leftover rice or risotto in your arancini. Just be sure that it is cooked to a moist, fluffy state. Some people even choose to use sushi rice in their recipes to make sure that the balls are a firm, tacky texture. You can also eliminate waste by using leftover rice from a previous meal in your filling. Be sure to add in an egg to bind it, as there’s nothing worse than dry arancini! For the carb-free or paleo eaters, cauliflower rice works just as well. You can also add an extra handful of finely grated parmesan to the rice while it’s still warm to ensure that you will be biting into a warm, sticky centre when you eat the arancini.
Along with ragu and peas, shredded ham also makes for a great filling for arancini. I recommend that you slice the mozzarella into tiny pieces. Then mix them in with the filling to create a more complex taste than one chunk at the centre.
The rice is usually flavoured with saffron, but this can be substituted for herbs and spices of your choice according to your tastes. You can also get creative with the filling, using anything from pancetta, tomato, mushroom, onion or a combination of different cheeses. Basil is also a popular ingredient for the filling of arancini. Although different herbs such as parsley, thyme, oregano or rosemary are just as delicious.
For the crumbing, you can coat the rice balls in a flour and egg mixture before covering them in breadcrumbs. This makes for a crispy and complete outer coating as it helps the mixture to stick to the rice.
If you have chosen the Banting option of using cauliflower rice, you may choose to use Parmesan for the crispy outside.
Arancini is a great finger food, side, or snack to make ahead of time. Just prepare the balls and refrigerate until use. They are delicious with a dipping sauce, such as marinara, a creamy tomato mixture, BBQ or a creamy herb sauce. Even an alfredo sauce makes a great complement to arancini. Arancini is such a fun and interesting food option as you can create a huge variety of combinations.
Here is our take on this Italian comfort food favorite.
HOW TO MAKE ITALIAN ARANCINI
- FOR THE RISOTTO
- Risotto rice- 500 gm / 2 1/ 2 cups
- Hot Vegetable/Chicken stock- 2½ cups / 6 cups
- Unsalted butter- 6 tbsp/ 75 gm
- Onion ( finely chopped)- 1 large
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese- 7-8 tbsp
- FOR THE FRITTERS
- Porcini mushroom ( finely chopped) - 300 gm
- Mozzarella cheese( diced) -150 gm
- Turkey slices- 300 gm
- Grated Pecorino cheese- 100 gm
- Cooked peas- 100 gm / 1 cup
- All purpose flour- 3 tbsp
- Eggs ( beaten)- 5
- White Breadcrumbs- as needed for coating
- Take a large saucepan, pour the chicken stock & heat until it starts simmering.
- Allow it to simmer while you cook the risotto.
- Melt half the butter in a large skillet and add the onion. Cook over a very low heat for about 10 minutes until is soft but not browned.
- Stir in risotto rice into onion mixture and toast on all sides. They will become opaque but not colored. Add some hot chicken stock & stir it in until absorbed.
- Again add two bowl-like spoons of hot stock and continue to stirring so that the rice absorbs the liquid.
- Continue adding more stock until the rice is soft and creamy. It will take 20-22 minutes. Adjust the seasonings and salt to your taste.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese and the remaining butter. Allow to cool.
- Transfer the cold risotto in a large bowl.Heat some olive oil in a small pan. Saute the mushrooms until cooked.
- Add the cooked mushrooms, peas, the grated Pecorino cheese, Mozzarella cheese and the turkey strips to risotto. Mix well.
- Shape the risotto mixture into balls ( the size of tangerines).
- Have the flour, beaten eggs and breadcrumbs ready in separate shallow bowls.
- Roll each ball in flour, then eggs and end with breadcrumbs.
- In a large pan heat oil until a cube of bread browns in about 40 seconds.
- Fry rice fritters in batches ( 7-8 minutes) until golden.
- Allow to drain on kitchen paper.
- Serve immediately.
a medium saucepan, a large bowl, a large skillet