Thursday, August 5, 2010

"Arancini" Rice Balls

Arancini translates to "little oranges" but these wonderful treats have nothing to do with oranges. They are made out of rice. One of our cousins grandmother used to make them for the holidays. She always said they were very hard to make and showed us how to do them once. I never tried to make them till I saw David Rocco on the Cooking Channel do them. He uses his favorite Risotto recipe, and then chills it overnight. That was way easier than the way I was taught.

To make the rice balls, or Arancini...
Scoop out a nice ball of the chilled rice and form roll into a nice round shape about the size of a small Valencia orange.
Do this with all your rice and put on a plate covered with wax paper. Rice should be cold. You can prepare to this point and refrigerate if you want to serve them hot!

Then mix a couple of eggs with a spoon of water and beat it with a fork. Keep this in a bowl.

Get some plain bread crumbs and season with salt and pepper. Have them in a shallow bowl. Now dip the balls one by one into the egg wash and then roll in bread crumbs. Have them all ready to fry.

Heat up your olive oil till frying temperature. Gently fry the rice balls and turn them until they are browned all around. Let them rest on paper towels and sprinkle with salt just as them come out of the frying pan.

You are in for a treat! If you don't have a favorite risotto recipe. Just look for one. I used tomatoes and ground sausage in these, with some tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese as well as romano cheese. Risotto can be made from just about anything you have in the fridge, so get creative. Josaphine La Barbera, our cousins grandma always put a meat surprise in the middle of her rice ball. Her rice was more plain and then you would get this spicy meat filling in the middle. It was quite delicious. David Rocco put some mozzarella in the middle of his, so when you ate it warm, the cheese would ooze out of it. Here are some photos of mine in the process.
I love making risotto and can't wait to try some different versions of these!
Cooks note: These are traditionally deep fried to keep their wonderful round shape but since I don't fry that often, I just did them in a frying pan to save on oil.

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