Arancini – Fried Italian Rice Balls
You know when you see people get excited about food, right? The facial expression, the down right excitement knowing that they are going to be eating something very good, very soon. That was my mom when I was growing up, and the excitement came from a large fried ball from an Italian deli and bakery on the east side of Milwaukee.
I want to say these fried balls were from Glorioso Brothers, or Peter Sciortino’s, one of the two. But you know, it was a trip to get there. Coming from the suburbs, you had to drive a good twenty minutes to reach this delicatable spot, only to turn back around, and return to your house where only your family members could see this level of excitement.
Arancini is not only a great word to say, but my mom had truth in her excitement, because after all, they are fried rice balls, coated with fine breadcrumbs, and stuffed with a variety of things. You can keep them plain, or stuff them with cheese, meats, and vegetables. However you serve them, they are delicious.
These are best served from leftover risotto. So when you make a batch next time, be sure to make some extra for this lovely appetizer. Let’s get started.
- 2-3 cups of leftover, cooked risotto
- 1/2 cup Italian style bread crumbs, seasoned
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
- 2 eggs, room temperature, beaten
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2-3 cups of vegetable oil
Begin by adding the basil, eggs, and parmesan cheese to the risotto. Mix, and mix well. Yes, you will get a bit dirty, but that is the fun of cooking some times.
Preheat your oil on medium heat in a heavy fry pot. You want the temperature to be about 350 degrees when frying.
Add your breadcrumbs to a small casserole dish.
Next, run your hands under water, then begin rolling meatball size shapes of the mixture. Keep in mind that you can make these as small or as big as you want, just be mindful of the oil quantity when doing so. If you are stuffing the arancini, take your thumb and gently make an imprint in the middle. Stuff with your cheeses, ground meat, or vegetables, then form back into the meatball shape. Roll the ball into the breadcrumb mixture, making sure it is evenly coated.
Repeat with the rest of the mixture.
Carefully drop the coated rice ball into the oil, and fry, roughly 4-6 minutes, turning occasionally, or until they are a golden brown. Remove and let them drain on some paper towel before serving.
To plate, add them to a plate, and eat them as is, or serve with a side of great marinara sauce. However you serve them, trust me, you will get that same level of excitement that my mom did years ago, but now you can make them right in your very own kitchen.