Leftover risotto? It’s true, risotto loses its magic after it’s been sitting for a while, not to mention, if it’s been in the refrigerator overnight, but not to worry, arancini are the perfect solution. Arancini are deep fried risotto balls filled with stringy melted mozzarella. Sound sinful? They are! They make the perfect appetizer, or served alongside a lemon arugula salad they make a beautiful meal!
- 4 cups Risotto
- 1/4 lb Mozzerella 1/2 inch cubes
- 1/2 cup Flour
- 1 cup Water
- 2 cups Panko Breadcrumbs
- Salt qb
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Parsley garnish
- Lemon zest garnish
- Take a couple of tablespoons of the leftover risotto and add a cube of mozzarella to the center and form a ball (about 2 inches round). I find a small ice cream scoop works the best. It keeps the arancini uniform in size and minimizes having to handle the risotto which tends to stick to your fingers. If the stickiness poses a problem, dip your hands in cold water before handling the rice.
- To make the batter, add the flour, a pinch of salt and the water. Mix thoroughly with a whisk to dissolve the lumps. Don't forget to add the salt. It may seem an innocent omission, but it enhances the flavor tremendously, and if you're going to all this effort, don't hold back!
- Dip the arancini into the batter and roll in breadcrumbs. Panko bread crumbs are not traditional, but I use them because I love their crunch. If you prefer to use seasoned breadcrumbs, feel free, or if you want to mix half and half, that works as well.
- Pour enough oil into a large saucepan so that it will cover the arancini entirely. Heat the oil to 350 degrees, medium heat. I use a candy thermometer to regulate the temperature. If you have a small deep fryer, pull it out. They are great at regulating temperature. If you're using the stove top, keep an eye on it and try to keep the temperature as even as possible while frying.
- Place a few arancini in the oil at a time and fry for two to three minutes. Do not over crowd the pan or the arancini will lower the temperature of the oil. When the arancini turn golden brown, remove them with a slotted spoon and drain them on a tray lined with parchment paper to absorb the excess oil.
- Season with salt while they are hot so the salt sticks. To serve, grate lemon zest over the top and garnish with chopped Italian flat leaf parsley and enjoy!
- Tip: When I'm having a party, I can't stand cooking at the last minute. Who has time for that? I'd rather be socializing, so… I make these ahead of time but take the arancini out before they are golden brown. I leave the oil on the stove (heat turned off) and then when guests arrive, I pop them back in for a minute or two to reheat them. They get even crunchier! What could be better? Serve a delicious appetizer and enjoy the party too!