When it comes to Italian starters, there are few more tasty and indulgent than arancini. Originating in Sicily in the 10th century and named after the little oranges that they resemble, these delicious fried rice balls work perfectly as a snack or as part of a larger meal. Simple, tasty and full of classic Italian flavours like melted mozzarella and Bolognese sauce, arancini are a must in Italian chef’s repertoire. Here’s our guide to making the perfect arancini.
For the risotto:
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
425g Arborio rice
120ml white wine
850ml chicken stock
For the filling:
Mozzarella, cut into small cubes
Marinara or Bolognese sauce
For the coating:
2 eggs, beaten
more tomato sauce, to serve (optional)
basil leaves, for garnish
Begin by cooking the risotto – Heat the oil in a large saute pan and add the rice, stirring quickly for one or two minutes. While stirring, add the white wine. Next, keep the heat on medium-high and begin adding the chicken stock a little at a time, making sure to stir throughout. Do this until all the stock has been added and the rice is cooked, yet still al dente. At this point you can add salt and season to taste. Once cooked, remove the rice from the heat and set aside to cool. Add an egg to the rice and mix well, then refrigerate for a minimum of three hours.
Once the rice is ready you can begin creating the arancini balls. Place some rice in your hand and flatten it into a cup shape – be careful not to make it too thin though, or the filling will ooze out. Next, place a few pieces of mozzarella, a little tomato sauce and some cooked peas in the centre of the cupped rice. Once added, close the rice around the filling and shape into a ball.
Once you have shaped all of the arancini balls, you can begin to coat them. Start by rolling each shaped arancini in flour, then roll them in the beaten egg, and finally roll them in the breadcrumbs. Continue until all of your arancini balls are coated.
Heat some oil in a deep fryer, pot or wok until it is very hot. Add the arancini, and cook quickly, turning often so they don’t brown too much on one side. If serving immediately it is best to fry them for a few minutes, so that the cheese will melt in the centre. If you are serving the arancini at a later time we suggest removing them quickly after just browning; then, just before serving, place them on a baking sheet and re-heat in the oven for around 15 minutes.
Now your arancini are ready – you can serve them plain, or place them on a tray with a little tomato sauce and garnish with basil. Buon appetito!
This recipe was originally created by Christina Conte.