Sunday, March 22, 2009

risotto balls (arancini)

i don't know what rock i was living under, but i recently had the pleasure of eating a deep fried risotto ball (arancini). the first time i put that sucker in my mouth, i was floooooored. to deep fry balls of creamy risotto and stick a piece of cheese in the simply genius. i want to shake the hand of the person who invented this bad boy.

since i've popped my arancini cherry, i tried it two more times and all three times were made slightly different. little dom's serves them large and in charge with no sauce. tasca winebar serves them medium sized with a truffled cream sauce. and fraiche serves them mini bite sized with marinara sauce. i came to the conclusion that i like the medium size and served with some sort of sauce.

they are usually made with plain risotto and with seasoned breadcrumbs...but i tried them with a mushroom risotto and panko bread crumbs for that extra CRUNCH. you can make your own rules here. let me know what other mouthwatering flavor combos you come up with.

risotto balls (arancini)
4 servings
3 cups cooked mushroom risotto, cooled
12 mozzarella cubes, 1/2 inch
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup panko bread crumbs
vegetable oil for frying

to serve
1/2 cup of marinara sauce
1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoon of parmesan (optional)

wet your hands with water. scoop a heaping tablespoon of the risotto and roll into a ball. gently toss back and forth between your hands. poke a small hole in center of each ball with your finger. insert a cube of the mozzarella, add 1/2 tablespoon more risotto to close up the hole and form back into a ball.

place the flour, eggs and panko crumbs in 3 separate bowls. first, dredge a risotto ball in flour, shaking off excess. second, dip in egg, letting excess drip off. lastly, dredge in bread crumbs.

when you are ready to fry, fill large pot with about 1.5 inches of vegetable oil on medium high heat. in small batches, carefully place the risotto balls into the oil. when one side is golden brown, turn the ball so all sides are evenly browned, about 4 mins total. using a slotted spoon, let the excess oil drain and place on a wire rack, with paper towel underneath it.

top with parsley and serve with a side of marinara sauce. i sprinkled some parmesan cheese on mine cus i love CHEEEESE!

bon appétit~!


  1. Oh my gosh these look so good! I just tried my first risotto ball recently and I swooned! They are just awesome. And yours look devine!!!

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  3. That arancini looks perfectly golden brown and good!

  4. Hey there! So, I was in a total cooking mood today and I narrowed down your beautiful choices to these risotto balls and the lemon tilapia. Wowza. I'm eating both right now and I was so proud of how they turned out that I took a picture of the plate (although it's not nearly as good as yours, haha) Thank you so much for these recipes! They're incredible <3

  5. i made these risotto balls for father's dinner tonight, and it was a big hit!!! the recipe's easy to follow and the taste is superb. the secret is to serve them w/ the marinara sauce from "spagetti marinara w/ turkey meatball" recipe. yummm...

  6. Amazing love it !

  7. Love your blog colors and logo! I am making Arancini this weekend and it was great to see your pictures for reference. Hopefully I will have my recipe and pics up on my blog in a few weeks!

  8. holy.shit I am drooling. Perfect snowy day recipe.

  9. On the ferry over the Straights of Messina they sell them as a popular hand meal, and the tomato sauce is in the center. This is the ferry that carries trainloads of people (with the train cars) to Sicily, and the trains have no dining car. So the instant they let us off the train in the ferry, people swarmed to the arancini counter.

  10. These look amazing. I had them at a restaurant recently and immediately looked for a recipe online & these looked like the best. I can't wait to make them.

  11. ericherryltd5/19/10, 2:50 AM

    Those photos and your description are amazing!

    I made some last night with risotto from the night before (nice and cold and set in the fridge before rolling) and I made them into sausage shapes so it cooked quicker and also resulting in more surface to "crunch" when it's fried (in shallow olive oil for healthy option):

    Risotto was: butternut squash, roast chicken, red onion and red wine and parmesan.

    Coating was: a garlic powder, pepper and salt seasoned mix of cornflour and dessicated coconut.

    Served with a pea shoot and rocket salad and some cold steamed asparagus on the side.


  12. hello i would like to read more about this interesting topic.

  13. My husband and I had these on the ferry tavelling from Sicily back to the mainland. They were pear sized and shaped and filled with gooey Mozzarella, chunks of ham and mixed vegetables. No sauce but they were amazing.