Arancini, meaning “little oranges” because of their shape and colour, are fried, stuffed rice balls originating in Sicily.
They are a famous street food and, due to their popularity, widely available now in the UK from street vendors, Italian cafés and restaurants. Arancini are a clever way to turn leftover risotto into another culinary delight. These fried risotto balls make wonderful finger food – and not just for parties! They are a delicious and versatile little snack for on-the-go or for a lazy evening at home. Best enjoyed straight out of the oven while the Taleggio in the centre is still hot and gooey.
For 15 arancini
For the risotto:
- 200g risotto rice, e.g. arborio
- 25g butter
- 1 small onion
- 125g chestnut mushrooms
- 600ml vegetable, chicken or beef stock or broth (1 stock cube)
- 100ml white wine, e.g. Pinot Grigio
- 75g grated parmesan
- Large handful of curly parsley, finely chopped
- 1 clove of garlic
- Salt, pepper to taste
For prepping the arancini:
- 50 Taleggio, cut into 15 cubes
- 2 small eggs
- 5 tbsps. plain flour
- 80g bread crumbs
- Oil for frying
- Chop the onion and garlic. Slowly heat the saucepan and melt the butter. Sweat the onion and garlic for about 2 minutes. Finely chop the mushrooms and add to the pan.
- Add the uncooked rice to the saucepan and cook for 1-2 minutes. Stir several times to avoid any burning of the ingredients and rice sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add a dash of salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the white wine to the pan. Cook for another 2 minutes.
- Add stock to the rice bit by bit (pour from the measuring jug). If you are using stock cubes, boil water and dissolve 1 stock cube in 600 ml hot water. Keep adding more stock once the liquid has been absorbed by the rice. Stir regularly to avoid any burning of the rice.
- Finely chop the fresh parsley and add to the pan.
- The cooking process takes about 20-25 minutes Test the softness of the rice. It should be slightly al dente.
- Finely grate the Parmigiano-Reggiano and stir into the risotto and turn off the heat.
- Let the risotto cool off. In the meantime, prepare three bowls, one with a whisked egg (you can use a fork for that), one with the flour and one with the breadcrumbs. Cut the Taleggio into 15 equally sized cubes.
- Once the risotto is cold, take a small spoonful of it in the palm of your hand, put a piece of Taleggio in the middle and enclose the cheese with some more risotto. The size of the risotto ball is roughly that of an egg.
- Lightly dust the risotto ball in flour, then dip it into the egg, covering every surface, then use a fork to transfer it into the bowl with the breadcrumbs for coating.
- Place the risotto ball, on the baking tray. Repeat the process until the risotto is finished.
- Take a clean frying pan and add as much oil to it as to cover the entire surface, with roughly half a centimeter in depth.
- Pre-heat the oven to 170°C (fan) or Gas mark 4.
- Once the oil is hot, carefully place the arancini in the pan and deep-fry until golden brown. Remove the risotto balls with a slotted spoon and place them on a baking tray. Use kitchen towels to remove excess fat.
- Bake the arancini in the oven, middle rack, for about 15 minutes.
- Serve immediately.
Author: Danica Utermohlen
Picture credits: Danica Utermohlen
Disclaimer: This recipe has been edited. It was first published in February 2018 for GloTIME and Castelli, and republished in December 2020 (glotime.tv, castelli-uk.com).