These crispy, bite-sized appetizers are really irresistible (with or without a warm bowl of marinara sauce for dipping). So it may be hard to believe that they originated in Italy as a common bar snack made from leftover risotto. This recipe includes making risotto from scratch, but if you’re lucky enough to have cooked risotto on hand, you can whip these up pretty quickly.
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 6 whole sun-dried tomatoes, rehydrated and minced
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
- 1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese
- 1/2 cup unbleached flour
- 3 large eggs, whisked
- 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Marinara sauce, if desired
- In a 2-quart pan, warm the stock over medium heat. When it comes to a boil, lower the heat to just keep warm, but not boiling.
- In a large sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and stir; cook for about 5 minutes, until soft and clear, but not browned. Add the rice to the pan and raise the heat to medium-high. Stir until the rice is hot to the touch, and then add the wine, salt and pepper. Keep stirring until the wine evaporates and the pan is almost dry. Start ladling in stock, one cup at a time, stirring with each addition. Add the next ladle of stock when the rice has absorbed almost all of the liquid in the pan. It should take about 20 minutes for the rice to cook, after you start adding stock.
- When the rice is tender and all the stock has been absorbed, remove from heat. Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes, parsley and Asiago cheese. Transfer to a glass or porcelain dish with a lid, and let cool, uncovered, for about 5 minutes before covering and refrigerating until completely cold. If you are in a hurry, spread the risotto on a sheet pan to chill more quickly. The risotto can be made a day or two ahead of time.
- To make the arancini, line a sheet pan with parchment, and preheat the oven to 200⁰F to hold the finished arancini. In three separate medium bowls, measure the flour, whisk the eggs, place the panko. Use a tablespoon to scoop rounded tablespoon portions of the risotto, and compress them into balls with your hands. Roll each ball in flour, then egg, then panko and place on the sheet pan. Continue until all the rice is used up. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour, or up to 24 hours.
- To cook, line a sheet pan or large platter with a double layer of paper towels. In a large sauté pan or cast iron Dutch oven, heat 3/4 inch of oil over high heat until the oil ripples and shimmers. Carefully place several arancini in the oil, leaving an inch of space between them to prevent overcrowding the pan. Lower the heat to medium when it sizzles. Turn the rice balls to brown evenly on all sides. Once they are golden, transfer to the paper towel-lined pan, then place in the oven to keep warm as you cook the next batch (to cut your preparation time, you can use two sauté pans at once.) For entertaining, you can fry one plateful at time and keep the uncooked arancini in the refrigerator until you want to fry more.
- If desired, heat the marinara sauce, place a warm bowl of sauce in the middle of a platter, and arrange the arancini around the sauce, with toothpicks for dipping. Serve while warm.
390 calories, 19 g. fat, 95 mg. cholesterol, 640 mg. sodium, 38 g. carbohydrate, 2 g. fiber, 13 g. protein