derryX’s Arancini

This is going to be a fun one.

Remember that amazing mushroom risotto I made? If you go back to that and compare the serving sizes to the amount I made, you’ll realize that I prepared a decent amount of excess. That’s because one of the best parts of making risotto is using the leftovers to make arancini.

Arancini, literally translated, is Italian for “little oranges.” Yes, you can make oranges out of rice. All you need to do is bread and deep fry balls of rice.

But how are you supposed to fry balls of a rice that derryX insists is supposed to flow when plated?

Well, c’mon, people. Since we added so much cheese and butter (which should be solid at room temperature), allowing the rice to cool will lead to a nice and firm rice formation that can be formed, breaded, and fried.

Here’s the basic procedure, then I’ll teach you how to doctor it up:

Start with your cooled risotto (I added sauteed mushrooms to the risotto before it cooled) and some all-purpose flour.

Form the rice into balls about half the size of your fist.

Mix an egg wash with some eggs and milk.

Mix up some fresh bread crumbs. I cheated and bought Panko bread crumbs; however, I added an equivalent amount of grated parmigainno regianno, some herbs, salt and pepper.

Coat in flour, then in egg, then bread crumb. Make sure the bread crumb is packed nicely around the rice balls, and the egg surface is completely coated in bread crumb mixture.

Toss these in some oil heated to 350 -375 deg F.

For God’s sake, do it in batches. And be careful, please.

After removal from the oil (they’re ready when they’re brown all around), allow to drain on a wire rack.

I served mine up with a small amount of my pesto and some extra virgin olive oil.

Pretty good!

How you can be creative with these is by fiddling with the size and filling. My risotto had mushrooms in it, so I decided to leave that as the sole filling. However, you can tuck all different things into these. A classic Focacceria (Sicilian) classic in Brooklyn starts with plain risotto and is filled with mozzarella, ground beef, peas, and tomato sauce. By golly, this combination is insane! It takes a little work to get the stuff inside, though, and these are usually bigger than what I made.

An unorthodox filling, but a popular one among my Italian aunts and mom, believe it or not, is a Hersheys Kiss buried in plain risotto before breading and frying. It’s more of a sweet treat, but the contrasts of the salty from all of the cheese and the sweet from the chocolate is very comforting. There’s really nothing like biting into one of these as they come out of the oil.

Get out there, enjoy making yourself some risotto, and treat yourself to some rice balls!


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