An authentic Italian recipe from our kitchen to yours.
Ingredients for Risotto
– 2 cups long grain rice such as Arborio
– 4 cups hot (but not boiling) water or chicken broth
– 1/3 cup hot white wine
– ¼ cup minced onion
– ¼ cup minced celery
– 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
– ½ teaspoon of saffron threads
– 3 tablespoons olive oil
– 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
Ingredients for Arancini
– 2 – 4 cups bread crumbs
– 2/3 – ¾ cup all-purpose flour
– 4 egg whites lightly beaten
– Risotto recipe (above), thoroughly cooled
– 8 ounces mozzarella or fontina cheese, cubed
– ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
– Pinch of nutmeg
– Oil for frying
– Our Marinara sauce (optional)
Directions for Risotto
1. In a stock pot, add water or broth and wine. Bring liquids to a boil and then turn heat to low and continue to simmer. Remove ½ cup of the liquid from the pot and add the saffron; let it infuse into the liquid for 10 minutes or until the liquid turns a bright yellow.
2. In a separate, large cooking pot, over medium to medium-high heat, add 3 tablespoons olive oil, onion and celery. Sauté until the vegetables become translucent.
3. Add rice and sauté for a few minutes until the kernels become translucent and begin to pop.
4. Strain the saffron from the liquid and add the bright yellow liquid to the rice. Add an additional ladle of the cooking broth to the rice and stir. Continue stirring constantly (but not aggressively) until the liquid is almost completely absorbed.
5. Add another ladle full of cooking liquid to the rice and continue to stir until the liquid is almost absorbed by the rice. Continue this process until the rice has softened but still is firm enough to have a bit of a bite to it. Be careful not to add too much liquid or the rice will become too soft and mushy.
6. To finish the risotto, remove the rice from the heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil along with the parmesan cheese. Mix thoroughly.
7. Set the risotto aside to cool thoroughly – preferably overnight. In order for it to cool faster it is helpful to spread the rice onto a sheet pan. This will also help to create the fritters as you can easily cut the risotto into 2 inch squares and roll them into balls.
Directions for Arancini
1. Divide the tray of cooled risotto into 8 even portions. Remove one portion of the risotto from the pan.
2. Using slightly damp hands (so that the cooled rice does not stick to your hands) roll the cooled risotto 2 inch balls. Do not over work the risotto and warm it with your hands too much.
3. Make an indentation into the ball and stuff one cube of cheese into the hole. Close the ball and place the completed ball on a tray. Continue this process until all arancini are assembled.
4. Once all of the balls are completed, place the tray into the refrigerator for 30 – 45 minutes.
5. In the meantime, assemble a dredging station with 3 different bowls. In the first bowl, add the flour. In the second bowl add the egg whites, lemon zest and nutmeg and whisk thoroughly. In the third bowl add the bread crumbs. Use a plate or tray to hold the completed prepped fritters.
6. Remove the tray of arancini from the refrigerator and begin assembling the fritters by first dipping the balls in the flour and thoroughly shaking off the excess. Next dredge each of the balls through the egg white mixture. Finally dredge them through the bread crumb mix, lightly pressing the breadcrumbs onto the risotto, making sure that they cover all sides of the fritter.
7. Place the assembled fritters on a plate or tray to be fried.
8. In a Dutch oven or large skillet, add approximately 3 inches of oil for frying and heat to 350 – 400 degrees over medium heat.
9. Place several layers of paper towels on a baking sheet to drain the oil from the fried fritters.
10. To test if the oil is ready, using your hand, dip half of one of the balls into the oil. If it begins to sizzle and brown, the fritters are ready to fry.
11. Place a few of the risotto balls into the hot oil, but not too many to crowd the pan. Fry them until they are golden brown on all sides and then remove them from the oil and let them drain on the tray lined with paper towels.
12. Continue this process until all fritters are fried.
13. Serve hot with our Marinara sauce for dipping (optional).
To prevent the oil from developing a bitter taste, clean the oil by scraping the bottom of the pan with a slotted spoon to remove excess bread crumbs (which will continue to fry and ultimately burn if left in the oil thus creating the bitter taste).