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Arancini Rice Balls

Updated: Aug 24, 2021

Makes 15 balls

I had Arancini one time in Italy and have been wanting to make them ever since. However there are a few steps to them and therefore you need some time to get them done. They are great as a meal or an appetizer. Lay them on top of my marinara sauce, and this becomes a delicious recipe. Update: you can also bake these instead of frying them by baking them for 30 minutes at 400 degrees F.

Ingredients - Rice

2 tbsp unsalted butter

2 cups Arborio rice

½ tsp crushed saffron

4 cups vegetable broth

Water as required

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

Another 2 tbsp unsalted butter

Salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients - Meat Sauce Filling

1 tbsp olive oil

½ cup finely chopped onion

½ cup finely chopped celery

½ cup finely chopped carrots

1 ½ cup ground pork

½ cup white wine

1 tsp salt

½ tsp cayenne pepper

½ tsp rosemary

½ tsp thyme

¼ cup tomato paste

1 ½ cup tomato passata

½ cup frozen green peas

Fresh mozzarella cheese in ½ inch cubes

Ingredients – To Form Rice Balls

½ cup flour

3 eggs

½ cup water

½ tsp salt

4 cups panko

Vegetable or canola oil for frying

Parsley and grated parmesan cheese for sprinkling

Making the Rice

  1. On high heat, melt butter in saucepan, add rice and sauté for two minutes

  2. Combine broth and saffron and pour into rice

  3. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low

  4. Cover and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes until liquid has been absorbed

  5. Try if rice is cooked, if not add ¼ cup water at a time and let simmer covered until cooked

  6. Stir in parmesan, butter, salt and pepper to taste

  7. Spread rice onto a large baking sheet and let cool

Making the filling

  1. Heat oil in saucepan over high heat. Add onion, celery and carrots and sauté until onions are translucent

  2. Add pork and fry until browned

  3. Pour in wine and spices and let cook until liquid has been absorbed, about five minutes

  4. Stir in tomato paste and passata, reduce heat to medium low

  5. Simmer ten minutes stirring occasionally

  6. Add peas and simmer for ten minutes or until peas are tender

  7. Sauce should be think, not liquidy. If it is liquidy keep cooking until the sauce is thickened

  8. Place filling into a bowl and let cool

Making the Arancini

  1. Once the rice and filling is completely cooled it is time to shape the balls

  2. Place a heaping tablespoon of rice in the palm of your hand

  3. First flatten the rice then shape it into a hollow bowl shape

  4. Spoon in about 1 tsp of filling into the center and 1 cube of mozzarella

  5. Gently close the rice around the filling to form a round ball, you may have to add extra rice to ensure the filling is fully enclosed. Place ball on a baking sheet

  6. Whisk together flour, eggs, water and salt in a bowl

  7. Spread panko on a plate

  8. Roll each ball into the egg mix then roll into panko until fully coated

  9. Heat about 1.5 inches of oil in deep frying pan to about 360°F

  10. Fry 4 – 5 rice balls at a time being careful not to overcrowd the pan

  11. Using a slotted spoon turn the balls until they are evenly golden brown

  12. Scoop them on to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain of oil

  13. Serve on top of marinara sauce and sprinkle with parsley and parmesan cheese


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