One day I was trying to figure out what the heck to do with that left-over saffron risotto from dinner the night before. Having just returned from Italy guess what sprung to mind? Aww, you guessed! This risotto is not totally traditional…but it worked very well! Of course you could make the risotto and use the entire batch and make more arancini. My first attempt at Arancini was a success!
Arancini – Makes 6
1 ½ cups firmly packed cold risotto (recipe follows)
1 beaten egg
3 Tbsp. finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano
6 (1/2”) cubes of Fontina cheese
1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh marjoram
½ cup + Dry breadcrumbs
Canola oil or other vegetable oil for frying
Stir the beaten egg and cheese into the risotto with a fork combining well. Using wet hands shape the risotto into 6 balls, place onto a piece of wax paper. Press an indent into each one with your finger. Roll each piece of cheese in the chopped marjoram before placing into the hole in each arancini. Reshape into a ball; then roll each in the breadcrumbs. As the arancini are formed place them on a rack set on a baking sheet. Once that’s done, roll each one in breadcrumbs then refrigerate for an hour or so.
When ready to fry the Arancini, heat 2 – 3” of oil in a deep-fryer, or you can use a deep electric frying pan (which is what I do), to 350F. When the oil is hot, carefully lower the Arancini into the oil and fry until they are nicely browned , approximately 7 minutes. Remove from the oil onto a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Cool for a few minutes and serve (they don’t need to be piping hot).
Saffron Risotto (Makes more than required for 6 Arancini)
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
½ cup chopped onion
½ tsp. chopped garlic
½ tsp. Spanish paprika (not smoked)
1 cup short-grain risotto rice
¼ tsp. saffron threads
2 ½ cups unsalted chicken stock, either homemade** or bought
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. chopped parsley
Heat the chicken stock until hot. Add the saffron, cover and keep warm.
Heat a sauté pan over medium heat; add the butter until it’s melted and hot; then add the onions and sauté until softened but not browned; add the garlic for a minute. Stir in the paprika, sauté for another 2 or 3 minutes; add the rice stirring until the rice is coated with the butter.
Stir in the hot chicken stock and ½ tsp. salt; bring to a boil; reduce the heat to medium-low and let rice cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until stock is absorbed and the rice is tender but still moist; season with additional salt & freshly ground pepper to taste and stir in the parsley.
Helpful link to Homemade Stock.