Arancini Adventures

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. 

Arancini

(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

  1. Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan or deep fat fryer to 375 F.
  2. Meanwhile combine rice, Parmesan, and 1 egg. Use your hands to mix.
  3. Form the Arancini by squeezing 1/4 portion of the rice mixture around each Mozzarella cube.
  4. Whisk remaining egg in a bowl, dip the Arancini into it, then roll in Italian breadcrumbs. Shake off excess and set aside.
  5. When oil reaches 375 F, fry two Arancini at a time, turning frequently until golden brown.
  6. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate. Repeat with remaining Arancini.
  7. Serve with warmed marinara sauce. (Or, a glass of Prosecco… heavenly!)

Loving appetizer adventures — authentic or not,

~ Kim

8 thoughts on “Arancini Adventures

  1. Wonderful, Kim, and thanks for the shoutout. I also use leftover risottos to make these guys – all different flavours, not just plain rice. And, there is nothing to say you can’t alter the cheese. As long it tastes nice.

    • My pleasure, Debi! Loved your idea using leftover risotto, too. I generally end up making more risotto than I can eat, if that sounds possible — but I try! :) Next up on my “play list” is saffron risotto… swoon. I also recently discovered “coffee infused Gorgonzola” and was debating what to pair it with (if anything!) Maybe “stuffing” is in order?

  2. I actually bought a small deep fryer many years ago just to make these. And also fried olives. I’ve made neither. Maybe this will motivate me to dust it off. They look fab!

    • Did you say FRIED OLIVES, Chef Mimi? I’ve heard of dill pickles and everything else in between, but oh my goodness! Must try… Unfortunately, I just polished off the last of my once-a-year stash of Castelvetrano olives from Lovera’s, but I’m hoping your idea works as well with jarred Maritini olives steeped in Vermouth. :) That’s half the fun, isn’t it? Best wishes on your deep fried adventures and thanks for admiring my Arancini!

      • Many years ago, in June, when OJ Simpson killed his wife, my husband and I were at the Aspen Food and Wine Festival. There was a Spanish tent, and I tasted the fried olives, and have never forgotten them. I think there’s some batter involved. Funny note – my store in Enid actually sells C olives! Not pitted, though

  3. Frugal and you didn’t have to run to the store! Perfect and delicious in my book. I love that placemat. Don’t you appreciate all the IMK posts from around the world that help us broaden our horizons?

    • Debra, I learn SO much from IMK each month and feel privileged to “tag along.” There are much more exciting adventures happening around the world than my paltry pantry “pinch hit” (lol) but that’s what’s fun, too. Everyone is allowed and encouraged to adapt. Thanks for acknowledging mine. The Arancini were delish!

      As for the placemat, it was a gift (one of many) from my dear friend, Ally, of Ally’s Kitchen shortly after our house fire in 2014. In case you haven’t read that far back on my blog, the IMK community was integral in funding my replacement stove and fridge, too. I can’t adequately describe how grateful I am to this day for that. Let the cooking continue! xo

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