The first time I tried risotto, I didn’t know what I was eating. That’s mainly because the restaurant was pitch black (check out O.Noir if you haven’t been there yet). My other senses were heighted and I found that the tomato-based risotto was delicious. I couldn’t wait to try it again (with lights on this time).
On the other hand, I had tasted Arancini at another restaurant, but they were just named “rice balls” on the menu (doesn’t sound quite as delicious as “Arancini di Riso, does it?). The fact that they were breaded and fried made these little morsels taste even more appetizing.
The thing with risotto (as well as a lot of dishes) is that it never tastes as good as it does when it’s first freshly made. So I decided to try my hand at making arancini with the leftovers the following day… So good!
Arancini is an easy dish to make if you want to use up your risotto leftovers. I know, I should’ve posted the recipe for risotto itself, but I usually wing-it when it comes to recipes like that, so I didn’t have time to write out all the ingredients. I ended up using a bit of apple cider vinegar because I was too cheap to crack open a fresh bottle of white wine, threw in some chopped apples that I forgot was in the fridge, some fresh Parmesan cheese and a can of peas I had just bought (it was still quite tasty, I assure you)!
So if you want a basic risotto recipe to try so that you can make arancini at home, try this recipe by Jamie Oliver (yeah, I know he’s not Italian, but it’s the first recipe I used to make risotto at home, and it was pretty easy to follow).
When I made these arancini, I stuffed each risotto ball with a small square of mozzarella cheese. I set up my dry-wet-dry breading station, and dipped the water-moistened risotto into the flour, then beaten egg, and finally the seasoned breadcrumbs, it will help create a nice, crispy coating. I made my own “Italian” seasoned breadcrumbs by mixing unseasoned breadcrumbs with a few teaspoons of dried parsley, garlic powder, Parmesean cheese, salt and pepper (feel free to add dried basil, oregano, and/or onion powder too).
I love my OXO cookie scoops, so I used my medium-sized one to make the measuring process easier. I don’t like using a lot of oil in my cooking, so instead of deep-frying these, or filling up my cast iron pan with a couple cups of oil, I just put in enough to cover the bottom of the pan.
These arancini make a great appetizer and are perfect served with some marinara sauce on the side (I used some pasta sauce I had left over in the fridge from the previous week).
After cooking arancini again, I’m wondering about other types of leftover rice or pasta that can be rolled and fried… Mac and Cheese balls anyone? 😀