Being a fan of these miniature delights, I'm always on the lookout for a new recipe. So when I saw Giada De Laurentiis make Arancini di Riso (also known as Fried and Stuffed Rice Balls), I knew I had to give them a try.
These are relatively easy to make, though they do take a little time.
First we need to make the risotto. I've never made it before, but it went well.
Here's what you'll need:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 small onion, chopped.
3/4 cup Arborio rice (you'll find it near the couscous and quinoa)
1/4 cup dry white wine (if you don't want to bother with the wine, just substitute more chicken broth)
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to low and keep hot. In a large, heavy saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter. Add the wine (or 1/4 cup broth) and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup hot broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of broth to absorb before adding the next. Cook the rice until tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and stir in remaining butter, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.
Okay. Now we're going to get messy.
For the filling, you're going to need:
- 2 cups cooked and cooled risotto or short-grain rice (that will be all of the above recipe)
- 1/2 cup Italian-style seasoned bread crumbs (plus more for breading)
- 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves
- 2 eggs, at room temp, beaten
- 4 oz. Gorgonzola (I love me some Gorgonzola cheese), at room temperature, cut into 16 (1/2 inch) cubes.
- Vegetable oil, for frying.
With damp hands (trust me on this one), form about 2 tablespoons of the risotto mixture into 1 3/4 inch diameter balls. Make a hole in the center of each and insert a cube of Gorgonzola. Cover up the hole to completely enclose the cheese. (yes, these last two parts are a little awkward, but you can pull it off) Roll the balls in breading to coat. (they're prettier after they're cooked)
In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, pour in enough oil to fill the pan about 1/3 of the way. Heat over medium heat until a deep-frying thermometer inserted in the oil reaches 350 degrees F. (if you don't have a thermometer, a cube of bread will brown in about 2 minutes). In batches, fry the rice balls, turning occasionally, until golden, about 4-5 minutes. Drain on paper towel and serve.
And if you're a little uncertain about the Gorgonzola, there's no need to worry. It kind of melts into the rice so it's not like you're getting an overpowering bite of blue cheese.
Now it's your turn. Are you a fan of finger foods? What are some of your faves?