Foreign languages really are a beautiful thing. I think that may be why so many women find men with accents and the ability to speak a different language so darned attractive. For example, you could have a face that looks like a butt. And then you open your mouth and speak with an Italian accent and I am instantly charmed beyond belief. It’s sort of a fact. Accents and foreign languages, they just do it.
And, I mean, you can say just about anything in a different language and it will sound beautiful. Like the word string beans. Doesn’t it just sound more elegant and fancy to say haricot verts? That’d be French and it would probably be one of my favorite French words. Then there is arancini di riso. It sounds like something you’d order at an expensive Italian restaurant, right?
When really, arancini di riso is just fried rice balls. But let’s be honest, what sounds better? Imagine going up to someone at a cocktail party and saying “Hey there, want some fried balls o’ rice?” I think you’d probably get the side eye as you walk away. Instead, take them a platter of arancini di riso. It’s the perfect party appetizer with the perfectly elegant name.
Essentially, arancini di riso is risotto that has been cooled then mixed with some glorious mozzarella cheese. It’s coated in panko and fried until golden and crispy and perfect. When you bite into one of these babies, you get a mouthful of creamy risotto, melty cheese and super flavor. They are a tiny bit time-consuming, since – as any Top Chef fan knows – risotto is a time-consuming process. It has to cool completely before mixing and I’ve found that letting the mixed risotto balls chill helps when breading and frying. If you are planning on serving these for a party, just be prepared to make them in advance. I made these on Saturday, ate them on Sunday and they were still super crisp. A little foresight will take you a long way on this one.
What’s your favorite party appetizer? Better yet, what’s your favorite accent?
- For risotto:
- 1 Tbsp. butter
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- ½ cup white wine
- 2 ½ cups vegetable stock
- Salt and pepper to taste
- For arancini di riso:
- 1 recipe risotto
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- Oil for frying
- Begin by preparing the risotto. Melt butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until translucent.
- Add in Arborio rice and toss with onion, cooking for 1 minute until just toasted.
- Add in wine. Stir well and allow the rice to completely absorb the wine.
- Once the wine is absorbed, add vegetable stock, ½ cup at a time. Allow the rice to completely absorb the stock before adding the next batch.
- Once all of the stock is gone and your rice is tender, your risotto is finished. Cool completely before proceeding with the next step.
- To prepare the arancini di riso, begin with completely cooled risotto. Combine with mozzarella cheese and egg yolk, reserving the white in a large bowl. Mix well to combine.
- Use a large scoop to form balls with the risotto. Set it on a tray and chill for 30 minutes. This will make it easier to handle.
- Set up a dipping station with flour on one plate, reserved egg white and 2 eggs whisked in a bowl and panko breadcrumbs on another plate.
- Dip the risotto balls first in flour to coat, then in eggs then in the breadcrumbs, allowing them to get completely coated.
- Heat 1 inch of oil in a large pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, drop the risotto carefully into the oil.
- Once golden on one side, carefully turn the risotto. Once golden on the other side, remove to a paper towel-lined plate.
- Repeat with the remaining risotto until all are fried and golden.