Arancini are a traditional Sicilian dish found throughout the south of Italy. They consist of deep fried balls of breadcrumb coated risotto, usually wrapped around a filling of ragu sauce or cheese. During a week-long stay in Otranto in Puglia, my meals were about 70% arancini based.
They are a really great way to use up leftover risotto, and are good things to make ahead as canapés or as part of an antipasti. I had steered clear of trying to make them as I try generally not to make deep fat fried food in case my brain finally connects how much fat actually goes into it, and I stop eating it altogether, preferring to live in blissful denial when ordering fried food in restaurants. So when I saw a post over at Frugal Feeding about making baked arancini, I decided to give it a whirl myself.
Baking still delivers a nice crispy coating which breaks into the warm gooey rice and cheese below, and is a lot less time consuming (both in making them and in detrimental impact on your life expectancy). They trick is you really need to make the risotto rice the night before (or at least leave it to sit for two hours) so it is a bit more gummy and easy to shape. I used my previous recipe for pea, mint and pancetta risotto, which can be found here.
Makes 8 largeish arancini (about the size of a Satsuma)
- 200g pea, mint and bacon risotto
- 60g soft goats cheese
- 75g (approx.) breadcrumbs)
- 30g flour
- 1 egg
- Olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 180C.
- The easiest way to make the arancini is to use two large soup spoons and one small teaspoon (this will get messy).
- Scoop out a spoonful of risotto with the first large spoon and flatten slightly into the curve of the spoon.
- Take a teaspoon of goats cheese, and add it into the dent.
- Repeat the scoop/shape of risotto with a second large spoon and press the two spoons of risotto together so the goats cheese is in the middle of the ball surrounded by the risotto rice.
- You can keep these as sphere shapes, or shape them into more of a pear shape so they sit easily on a baking tray.
- Take three bowls and put the flour in the first, the beaten egg in the second, and breadcrumbs in the third.
- Season the flour.
- Take each arancini and first coat it in flour, then egg, then the breadcrumbs.
- Place the completed arancini on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment (it is a good idea to slip another baking sheet to preheat in the oven, which will help the bases of the arancini crisp).
- Drizzle with oil, or even better, spray with oil using a diffuser.
- Bake at 180C for about 30 minutes, or until the arancini are crispy and golden all over.
- Serve warm.