Arancini (pronounced arrrr-un-cheeni — roll that “r” like a pirate!) are cheese-stuffed rice croquettes from Italy. A friend from In My Kitchen recently chronicled her escapades in the Mediterranean — thanks, Debi — including a photo of Arancini and I couldn’t resist their allure any longer. Game on!
Speaking of games, I love to play Scrabble. It was time to combine that old favorite with a potential new one, and after researching a few recipes I set out on my Arancini Adventures.
The first challenge was a lack of Mozzarella in our fridge, but I had a bag of Italian five-cheese blend left from an ‘Italian’ dish I’d made for The Man Of Few Words the other night. Out of necessity (and/or desperation) I squeezed that shredded cheese into stuffable-size “balls.” Not quite as authentic as Mozzarella cubes, but I’ve been known to do things the hard way.
The next obstacle was Italian bread crumbs. All I had in the pantry were plain, and gluten-free to boot. I wondered if they’d yield the golden, deep-fried results I hoped to achieve? FYI, folks in the South aren’t squeamish about dunking food in hot oil and there’s a first time for everything — plus, I’m blessed with low cholesterol. A sprinkle of garlic powder and a tablespoon of Italian seasoning transformed them into “Italian” bread crumbs in no time at all.
As for leftover rice, I keep it on hand in the fridge at all times. I could very happily live on beans and rice for the rest of my life! But, today’s stash was destined to become Arancini. However, there’s no need to go to as much trouble as I did; see the recipe below.
(recipe adapted from Just A Taste — grazie!)
1 cup cooked sticky white rice (Uncle Ben’s was specified; I used “plain white”)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 large eggs
4 cubes fresh Mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Italian-style bread crumbs
Oil for frying
Marinara sauce for dipping
- Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan or deep fat fryer to 375 F.
- Meanwhile combine rice, Parmesan, and 1 egg. Use your hands to mix.
- Form the Arancini by squeezing 1/4 portion of the rice mixture around each Mozzarella cube.
- Whisk remaining egg in a bowl, dip the Arancini into it, then roll in Italian breadcrumbs. Shake off excess and set aside.
- When oil reaches 375 F, fry two Arancini at a time, turning frequently until golden brown.
- Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate. Repeat with remaining Arancini.
- Serve with warmed marinara sauce. (Or, a glass of Prosecco… heavenly!)
Loving appetizer adventures — authentic or not,