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Recipe of the Week: Risotto Arancini with Peas and Mozzarella

By Staff | Dec 10, 2019

Chef Loretta Paganini

A delicious stuffed risotto ball, coated with bread crumbs then deep fried. A popular Sicilian dish traditionally filled with tomato meat sauce and peas, vegetables or gooey mozzarella cheese. It gets its name from “Arancia,” a small orange in Italian because of its shape. Served as an appetizer or a snack anytime of the day, arancini are usually served hot or cold with fresh tomato or vegetable sauce. Serves eight. (Chef tip: The secret to crisp arancini is fresh plain homemade bread crumbs and hot 350F vegetable oil for frying them.)

1 1/2 cups raw risotto rice (Carnaroli)

1 shallot, minced

1/4 cup dry white wine

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

4 large eggs

1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

4 cups hot chicken stock

2 cup fresh breadcrumbs

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed

Vegetable oil, as needed for frying

Heat butter and oil together in a large saut pan. Add shallot and cook until translucent. Add rice and cook for one minute while stirring. Add wine and let it evaporate. Continue stirring while adding the broth half a cup at a time. Cook until rice is “al dente” and broth has been absorbed, about 23-25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Five minutes before the rice is cooked stop adding broth to allow the rice to absorb all of the liquid. Remove from the heat and cool for about 30 minutes or overnight in the refrigerator.

Sprinkle parmesan cheese over the rice, add two eggs and 1/2 a cup of breadcrumbs and mix well. Beat the remaining two eggs with salt and pepper. Place breadcrumbs on a plate. Take the prepared rice and form into little balls about the size of an egg. With your thumb make a hole and fill with peas and mozzarella cheese. Roll rice balls into egg mixture then into the breadcrumbs.

Chill for 10 minutes while heating the olive oil to 350F in a fryer or a deep pan. Fry the rice balls in the oil until golden brown about five minutes. Drain on paper towels before serving them. Serve arancini with pomodoro sauce.

Pomodoro sauce:

2 pounds ripe Italian plum tomatoes or canned diced tomatoes

1 small onion, finely minced

1/2 carrot, grated

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

2 cups tomato sauce

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a large non-reactive saucepan, cook onion in olive oil until transparent. Add carrot and garlic and saut for two more minutes. Add chopped tomatoes and sauce. Season with hot peppers, salt and pepper. Simmer for 20 minutes to thicken at medium heat. Add basil and cook for a few minutes more.