Arancini.

As promised in my last post here is a clever idea for using up leftover risotto, arancini. This is an absolute treat, a dish I have served in various different ways, stuffed with different cheeses, meats or ragu it is fantastic every time. Arancini are stuffed deep fried balls of risotto rice, I have seen unstuffed variants too but believe stuffed is the way forward. The addition of tomatoes or tomato sauce to this dish is what really brings it all together, I like to used jarred sun dried tomatoes or even better a fresh sundried tomato sauce, the flavors together are just so right, wow. Anyway here it is:

Trio of Arancini, cook time 5 minutes, prep time none really, serves 2, Ingredients:

  • Around 250g leftover risotto
  • 3 pieces each of goats cheese, mozzarella and smoked Applewood cheddar rolled into little balls or any other cheese you might enjoy.
  • 1 egg
  • A splash of milk
  • Plain/All purpose flour to coat
  • Panko breadcrumbs to coat
  • Sun dried tomatoes to serve
  • A handful grated parmesan
  • Basil leaves to garnish if desired
  • The juice of half a lemon.

Preheat a deep fryer to 180 degrees Celsius then start making your egg wash with the egg and milk by stirring both ingredients together then add to a bowl, in 2 separate bowls put the plain flour in one and the panko breadcrumbs in the other. Arrange the bowls in a line starting with flour then the egg wash and the panko last, this will be a little be a little production line for breading your Arancini, the French term for this method is called Pané.

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With your Pané set up its time to start and form the Arancini, take chunks of the Risotto at a time and squash them into little patties, now get your balls of cheese and add one piece to each patty until you have used up all of the leftover Risotto. Form the rice around the cheese into a ball, you should aim for about the size of a golf ball. Try not to make them too big as it will take forever for the cheese inside to melt and could result in the outside being burnt before the cheese is melted. You will find the Risotto is very malleable, the starch from the rice makes it nice and sticky, perfect for stuffing with cheese. You should end up with something looking like the pictures below.

Now that your Arancini are all stuffed its time to Pané. To do this start by coating them all in your bowl of flour, then into the egg wash and finish with the breadcrumbs. Make sure every little bit of the Arancini is coated. When using Pané it is a good idea to use one hand for the flour and panko and the other hand for the egg, if you use the same hand for all 3 it is quite easy to get in a mess and your fingers may resemble breaded sausages. Once all of your rice balls are coated evenly you may proceed to deep fry, cook for around 5 minutes or until they are a lovely golden brown, I like to cut into one when cooked to make sure the cheese is melted, if its not the rest go back in until it is.

Now that your Arancini are cooked simply dish up with your tomatoes or sauce and finish with the grated parmesan, a squeeze of the lemon juice and your basil leaves. I hope you will really enjoy this dish as did all the other people I cooked it for have in the past, it is the typical pairing of cheese and tomato on another level, Buon Appetito!

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