Arancini balls are as far as I am concerned one of the worlds finest leftover recipes, perfect crisp leftover risotto rice balls!
The Ultimate Comfort Food.
The Italians are responsible for most of my favourite comfort food and these fried risotto balls are right up there with the best. It is largely a peasant dish designed to use up leftovers.
I have waxed lyrical about risotto in a previous recipes, it is one of my many ideas of food heaven.
This takes cooled risotto, wraps it in breadcrumbs, deep-fries it and makes it food heaven²!
I do have a confession the notion of leftover risotto is alien to me!
No matter how much I make it will always be eaten and the pan will be wiped clean.
As a result, I usually make up a batch the night before making these dish!
They are usually a snack or starter, I like to add a tomato sauce, some tomato concasse and then a side salad and serve them as a light main.
How to Make Arancini.
You can make these leftover rice balls with many of my risotto recipes:
- Tomato Risotto.
- Balsamic Leek and Mushroom Risotto.
- Pureed Pumpkin Risotto.
- Spinach and Mushroom Risotto.
Naturally, all of these will result in a slightly different flavour of arancini.
I tend to avoid risottos made with fish or a fish stock but that is just a me and cheese/fish combo thing.
A risotto that has some cheese mixed in at the end is perfect because this helps hold everything together.
You do need to ensure that you have removed any larger chunks of vegetables or chopped them smaller.
You also need to have your risotto cooked to the perfect classic consistency.
If you drop it onto a plate when it is hot and it stays as a “lump” it is too dry. If you put it on a plate and a load of liquid runs out it is too wet!
You are looking for a texture that flows “like lava” when it is hot then your risotto will make perfect arancini.
All you do is place a lump in your hand flatten it with your palm and press. Then add your filling and fold up the sides and roll in your hands.
All you do then is coat in breadcrumbs and you are done.
Alternative Cooking Methods.
I personally prefer to fry my arancini as the immediate immersion in hot oil offers the simplest and most reliable way of cooking.
However, if frying is not your thing you can heat your oven to around 200°C or 400°F will do and then bake until golden.
This should take around 20-25 minutes.
I have also recently discovered that arancini balls cook really rather well in an air fryer. In my opinion, they cook even better than in the oven!
Spray them with some baking spray and then cook at 180°C or 350°F for 12-15 minutes.
You should pause to shake them gently halfway through.
For the Arancini
- 450 g Leftover Cooled Risotto
- 60 g Mozzarella
- 1 Egg
- 60 g Breadcrumbs
- 30 g Seasoned Plain Flour
- Oil for Deep Frying
For the Tomato Sauce
- 1/2 Tbsp Cooking oil
- 1 Onion
- 2 Cloves Garlic
- 1 Stick Celery
- 200 ml Tomato Passata
- 1 Tbsp Tomato Puree
- 1/2 Tsp Dried Oregano
- 150 g Tomatoes
- 4 Fresh Basil Leaves
- Salt and Pepper to Taste
- Cut the mozzarella cheese into 10 evenly sized chunks.
- Take around 70g of your cold cooked risotto and form into a flat circle in the palm of your hand.
- Place a single chunk of Mozzarella in the middle and wrap around the remaining risotto rice.
- This should form a fairly smooth ball fairly quickly.
- Repeat with the remaining risotto, this will make 6 balls, set aside in the refrigerator whilst you prepare the sauce.
- Finely dice the onion, celery and garlic.
- Heat the oil for the tomato sauce over a medium high heat in a frying pan.
- Add in the onion, garlic and celery and cook without colouring until soft which should take approximately 10 minutes.
- Pour in the tomato passata, tomato puree and oregano then allow to cook for a further 5 minutes.
- Add salt and pepper to taste and I like to then blitz my sauce in a blender and pass through a fine sieve but this is optional.
- If you are blitzing your sauce return it to the pan and reduce to a texture you are happy with.
- Now heat your deep fat fryer or oil in a pan to 160°C or 320°F.
- Panne the Arancini by rolling them in the seasoned flour, then into the beaten egg and then into the bread crumbs.
- Then take the rice balls and fry them in the hot oil until golden brown which should take about 8-10 minutes, you may need to do this in batches.
- Whilst they are frying deseed the tomatoes and dice them and finely slice the basil leaves.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 876Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 140mgSodium: 1589mgCarbohydrates: 83gFiber: 6gSugar: 12gProtein: 27g