Arancini di Riso

Delicious mouth-watering Arancini di Riso made from scratch with just a handful of simple ingredients.

Do you know how in the UK you have your traditional fish and chips shop when you want a quick takeaway? In Naples we have our own version, except instead of selling fish or sausage with chips, they sell delicious morsels such as Arancini, dough balls, potato croquette, mini gatto’ and frittatine.

Popping to the shop to buy these treats used to be a treat in itself as I always used to have to “taste test” (a quarter of the bag) by the time I got home. Well in my defence, it was a good 15 minute walk back to the house, and I lived on the 3rd floor without a lift, so I needed to regain my strengths…..that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!

Oh, how do I miss those days!

Arancini, which are basically a rice ball, were always my favourite out of the lot.

The good thing is that these treats can easily be made at home with ingredients which you probably already have in. They are inexpensive to make, filling, and taste just as nice cold the day after so if you have any leftover, they make the ideal lunchbox meal.

Arancini translated in English means small orange. This is due to the size, shape and colour, But, that’s where the connection to oranges ends. They are made with Arborio rice which is a short-grain variety. This type of rice is high in amylopectin starch, which makes it an ideal rice for Arancini as it gives it a creamy texture. Unfortunately, other types of rice will not work for this recipe.

For this recipe you are basically making risotto and letting it go cold, so it’s an ideal meal to use up any leftover risotto from the day before. I cooked my rice in a chicken stock and added some peas. You can omit the peas if you don’t like them. You can tweak this recipe to suit what you have in the house and your taste buds. For example, you could add some chopped up pieces of ham or chicken. Or how about a tomato-based risotto? I use mozzarella as my filling as I love the way it melts and its gentle flavour, but you could change it to a different cheese such as cheddar if you preferred. Do not use the shredded variety, you need a fresh mozzarella ball for the best results.

Now, when it comes to cooking the Arancini, the best method, both in speed and taste is by deep frying them. However, I have a huge fear of frying since burning my eye with hot oil so I try and avoid doing it as much as I can. I can hear you shout at me to get an air fryer, I will, I just need to create some space in my kitchen first. So, I have found a method that works for me, which is to shallow fry to get the outside brown and crispy and finish off cooking in the oven. You still get a delicious arancini, however, if I have to be completely honest, nothing beats the taste of when they are deep fried, so if you can, I recommend cooking them the traditional method.

Ingredients:

  • 250gr Arborio Rice
  • 1 Stock Cube (any flavour you prefer)
  • 1 Egg
  • 25gr Grated Parmesan
  • 100gr Mozzarella
  • 50gr Peas (optional)
  • 100gr Ham/chicken chopped into small pieces (optional)

For the coating you will need

  • 2 Eggs
  • Breadcrumbs

To fry

  • Oil – Vegetable or Sunflower

Place the Arborio rice, stock cube and peas (if using) in a pan and cook according to the rice packet instructions. If there is any excess water, drain it before leaving it to cool completely. Store in the fridge until you are ready to make the arancini.

Cut the mozzarella in small cubes. In separate bowl beat the 2 eggs, and add breadcrumb into another bowl. To make the process easier I like to place it all the bowls in a line; rice, mozzarella, egg, breadcrumbs and a plate/tray to put the arancini in when ready.

Once the rice is cold, add the egg, parmesan cheese, and if using the chopped ham/chicken. Mix together first with a wooden spoon and then with your hands till everything is evenly distributed.

Grab a small handful of rice, about the size of a tangerine, flatten in your palm and place one or 2 pieces of mozzarella in the centre.

With both hands wrap the rice around the mozzarella and shape into a ball.

Wet the outside with the egg wash, then cover in breadcrumbs. Place in a tray/plate, repeat the process till all the rice has been used. You should get approx. 14 from this recipe.

Now, if you are ready to eat you can start cooking them, otherwise store in the fridge till you are ready.

If you are deep frying, slowly heat the oil till it reaches between 180°-190° Celsius.

Once the temperature has been reached, slowly lower the arancini in the oil and let it cook till golden brown. Lift out of the oil and place on a paper towel to absorb the excess oil.

If using the shallow fry method, heat the oil till it reaches 180°-190° Celsius and preheat the oven to 200° Celsius.

Place the arancini in the oil but this time you’ll need to gently turn them so each side gets a change to brown. Be gentle or the arancini will break. When browned all over, place in an oven proof dish and repeat with the rest till they are all browned off. Place in the oven to finish off for approx. 20-30 minutes.

Would you like to try more Italian recipes? Pop over to the Recipes category!

I absolutely love seeing what you’ve created, so if you do make this recipe (or any other items from my website) don’t forget to tag me over on my social media pages

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