Tuesday, December 07, 2010


 On our visit to Philly this fall, I went a little nuts over these tasty risotto balls we had at La Scala. I've been dying to make them ever since, but have yet to have a little extra risotto on hand. When I put the effort into making risotto, I rarely make enough for leftovers, since reheated risotto is just not risotto. The best way to use up leftover risotto is to make arancini, and there are hundreds of recipes out there. My leftovers, however, were several cups of humble brown rice left from my Nonna Luna debacle, so a bit of research was in order.

Turns out, you can make arancini with plain cooked rice. Apparently it's the Sicilian way. I found a recipe, but it claimed to take 4 hours. Yeah, uh. Hells no am I spending four hours making rice balls. I ended up just figuring it out, and E and I had our La Scala copycat arancini in about half an hour. While they were not quite a creamy as the originals this time, I know a few more tweaks can make them just right. They were balls of delicious and cheesy goodness spiked with pancetta, so you really can't go wrong. I can definitely see serving small arancini as an appetizer for a holiday cocktail party, dressed up with little skewers. Anyone wanna host one and invite me? I'll bring the balls. The rice balls.

Arancini di Riso with Pancetta

3 cups cooked brown rice
4 eggs, divided
1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs, divided
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/3 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
1/3 cup pancetta, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup smoked mozzarella, cubed
1 cup whole wheat flour
Salt and pepper
Oil for frying

Set up three shallow pans for coating rice balls: one with 1 cup of breadcrumbs, one with flour, and one with 2 eggs, beaten. Set aside.

Cook pancetta in a large, deep pan until crisp and browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and leave any grease in the pan. In a large bowl, toss rice with pancetta, two eggs, basil, 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs, Parmesan, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. Add about an inch or two of oil to the pancetta pan and heat over medium high while you prepare the rice balls. Using a large muffin scoop, scoop out rice mixture, press a cube of mozzarella inside and top with enough rice to cover. Release the scoop into your hand and press firmly into a ball. Dredge in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs. Repeat.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Once your oil is ready (either it has reached 350 degrees or a wooden spoon handle dipped in the oil creates bubbles), drop balls a few at a time into hot oil. Once golden (about 3 minutes) turn to cook the other side. Remove from oil with a slotted spoon and set on paper towels. Once all of the arancini is fried, place them on a baking sheet. Warm them in the preheated oven for 5 minutes. Serve with your choice of tomato sauce.

Print the Recipe

This post is linked to:
Hearth and Soul
Tuesday Night Supper Club
Tasty Tuesdays


☺lani☺ said...

Looks delicious! Thanks for dropping by!

Mo 'Betta said...

New follower :)

BigBearswife said...

oo yummy!!, they look great!

shopannies said...

I like trying to copy recipes as well looks rather yummy

honeybeecooksjackfruit said...

I made a version of these last month. Super yum!!

girlichef said...

Yum, yum, yum! I love arancini! I especially love it with a little square of gouda in the middle. Never tried it w/ brown rice before, though! They look great! Thanks for sharing them w/ the hearth and soul hop this week :D

Miz Helen said...

Your Risotto Balls look really good. Thank you for sharing and you have a great week.

Kitchen Boffin said...

wow! looks yummy.. never had it b'fore

Kristen said...

We love using up leftover risotto this way. I didn't know regular rice would work, but it makes sense. YUM!!!

wacki04@TheKing'sCourt IV said...

These look yummy!

Thanks for stopping by and linking up!

Christy said...

yippee...i have some rice in my fridge right now that can use a bit of pizazz! i love arancini so much...i can't wait to make this. thank you for linking it up to tuesday night supper club.