Looking for something original to bring to a holiday party? I was in that position earlier this week for my work place’s holiday party. However, when I saw this recipe, I knew I was set. Arancini (aka risotto balls) are perfect finger food and incredibly unique. While a little time intensive, it’s not a hard recipe, either. Plus: you can start it the day before, and it can be served room temperature. YAY! Brought to you by Food and Wine and holiday parties. [PS– this is the first time I fried anything, so there’s a first time for everything. Be a brave cook! I only burned myself once–small blister on my thumb. 😛 ]


  • 5 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup minced shallots
  • 1 ½ cups arborio rice (10 ½ ounces)
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (2 ounces)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • 4 large eggs
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup fine dry bread crumbs
  • 1 ½ ounces mozzarella, cut into eighteen ½-inch dice
  • 18 fresh or frozen peas
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  1. Bring the chicken stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan; keep warm.
  2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the shallots and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for 4 minutes. I think risotto doesn’t count unless it has wine in it. So at this point, add about a ½ cup of white wine and cook until wine is absorbed.
  3. Add 1 cup of the stock to the pan and cook, stirring gently, until all the stock is absorbed. Add the remaining stock, ½ cup at a time, and cook, stirring gently, until the rice is al dente, about 25 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan, 2 teaspoons of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper.
  4. Transfer the risotto to a heatproof bowl and let cool for 10 minutes. Stir in the parsley and 1 egg. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the rice and refrigerate the risotto for at least 4 hours or, preferably, overnight. Make this easy for yourself and do it the day before!
  5. Line a baking sheet with wax paper. In a shallow bowl, beat the remaining 3 eggs. Put the flour and bread crumbs on separate plates. Season the bread crumbs with salt. Using moistened hands, form ¼-cup portions of the rice into 2-inch balls. Tuck a piece of mozzarella and a pea in the center of each rice ball and seal any holes. Set the balls on the baking sheet.image
  6. Dredge the rice balls in the flour, tapping off any excess. Working with 1 at a time, dip each ball in the egg, then coat with bread crumbs, rolling and pressing it into a compact ball.image
  7. Heat ½ inch of vegetable oil in a large cast-iron skillet. When the oil is very hot, add all of the rice balls and cook over moderate heat, turning, until golden and crisp all over, about 8 minutes. Drain the balls on paper towels, then transfer to a large platter. Sprinkle the arancini lightly with salt and serve.image



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