If you have made too much risotto (see my last recipe), then there is no better way of upcycling your leftovers than turning them into arancini.
A mate of mine, who is a foodie type, first introduced me to arancini a few years ago. I’d never heard of them before but I was immediately hooked. Well, not exactly immediately as it took me a few more years to get around to making my own and you don’t often see them on menus around Dublin. Arancini are basically fried balls of rice that are apparently a common street food in southern Italy, never having been to the south of Italy I couldn’t say whether this is the case or not.
It is more common to make arancini with leftover risotto but I never have enough left over! You can make risotto just so you can turn it into arancini, but that is way too much work and fuss as far as I am concerned. This week however, I had lots of leftover risotto so I was very excited, yes excited, tragic I know, to be able to make arancini. It’s really very easy to make arancini and, as you should know by now, I like an easy life.
- Leftover risotto you could make some in advance and let it cool if you really have to
- Some mozzarella cheese cut into cubes a little bigger than 1cm squared. 1 ball was more than enough for my purposes.
- Some flour seasoned with salt and pepper
- A beaten egg
- Some breadcrumbs or panko if you want to be posh
- Oil for frying
Take the cold risotto and form it into balls, any size you like really, but mine ended up being somewhere between the size of a golf ball and a tennis ball. Poke your finger into the ball and insert a cube or two of mozzarella and close up the hole you made.
In three bowls have the flour, egg and breadcrumbs ready to go. Roll the ball around in the seasoned flower, then the egg and finally coat with breadcrumbs. When you are all done with that bit, heat up some olive oil, or any oil, in a deep frying pan or saucepan. Make sure it is hot by throwing a few breadcrumbs in to see if they sizzle in a satisfactory manner. Fry the the rice balls until they are golden brown all over, turning as necessary. Some recipes insist on deep frying the arancini and others say no. I just used about two cm of oil in the pan and turned the arancini and they turned out fine. I cooked them in batches as I had so many and I had to top up the oil once or twice. These delicious, crispy creamy balls are a treat so don’t worry about the calories, just go and do a few hours work in a field like a proper Sicilian.
Drain them on some kitchen towels and you can serve them up immediately with a grating of parmesan or a squeeze of lemon or whatever you’re having. You could serve with salad to get some greens into you. I just stuffed my face with them as they were. They are also delicious cold so you can have them for lunch the next day or take them on a picnic or as an energy boosting snack when hiking, or whatever. Just do it.