When it comes to cooking, the Italians really have the market cornered. This little gem of an hors d’oeuvre falls under the category of Italian masterpeice…that which would rival the great artist Michelangelo’s work on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Ok, I won’t go that far, but Aranci di Riso is incredibly delicious. I first laid my taste buds on this treat at local Italian eatery Lia’s Restaurant, here in Washington, DC. I was immediately was aranci-risotto-appetizer-delectabelledumfounded by two things.

  1. How had I never heard of this divine apertif, and,
  2. Why had it never dawned on me to try such a combination before?!

Arancini di Roso, what I imagine to be sort of the Italian version of a potato croquette, actually translates to ‘little oranges.’ The reason is apparent when you take a gander at their petite, round little figures on the plate.

This little treat is popular the world over, but stems from a traditional Sicilian recipe that dates back to the 10th century. They are a favorite among the natives, but no reason we can’t spread the love here in The States!

Since I have had the pleasure of actually eating these on several occasions, I was (needless to say) thrilled to flip over to the Food Network recently to find that chipper little kitchen wizard Giada di Laurentis whipping these up. And, one better, she was sharing her own family recipe passed down by her Grandparents, straight from the old world.

Seeing as I am regularly mistaken for Giada, you know, given my professional cooking skills, and my similar mansion overlooking the cliffs of Malibu and full camera crew in tow anytime I step to the stove…i figured it was only natural that I share this recipe. Ok, so none of that is true. But, you don’t need any of those things to make this delicious recipe!

So, just to give you a little backgrounder on what these treats really are, it’s pretty simple. Think if it as a sophisticated Mozzarella stick. What you do is prepare your favorite flavor of risotto (mushroom and pea is the most traditional), then basically stuff it will a reasonable chunk of succulent Mozzarella in the center, seal, bread, and fry. Here is what it should look like when stuffing, and the scrumptious end result…



You can of course get creative with it as well and add flavors that fit your palette by adding a dash of tomato sauce, or possibly using a different flavor of cheese in the center (though you do want to stick to a softer cheese so that it will melt well.) After cooking, you can also serve these up with different flavored sauces of your liking for dipping, or arrange your final product using a creative presentation. Below are some of my favorites I have seen, but you are limited only by the fences of your imagination, so have fun with it!


Arancini di Riso (Fried Risotto Balls)

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Yield: 6 servings

Serving Size: 1 risotto ball

Arancini di Riso (Fried Risotto Balls)


  • Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • 2 large eggs, beaten to blend
  • 2 cups Risotto with Mushrooms and Peas (recipe follows) cooled
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 1/2 cups dried Italian-style bread crumbs
  • 2 ounces mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • Salt
  • Mushroom Risotto
  • 8 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
  • 1/2-ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups finely chopped onions
  • 10 ounces white mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice or short-grain white rice
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, optional


    Cooking Mushroom Risotto with Peas:
  1. Bring the broth to a simmer in a heavy medium saucepan. Add the porcini mushrooms. Set aside until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Keep the broth warm over very low heat.
  2. Melt the butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the white mushrooms and garlic. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the porcini mushrooms to a cutting board. Finely chop the mushrooms and add to the saucepan. Saute until the mushrooms are tender and the juices evaporate, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice and let it toast for a few minutes.
  3. Add the wine; cook until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of hot broth; simmer over medium-low heat until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Continue to cook until the rice is just tender and the mixture is creamy, adding more broth by cupfuls and stirring often, about 28 minutes (the rice will absorb 6 to 8 cups of broth). Stir in the peas. Mix in the Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. Frying Risotto Balls:
  5. Pour enough oil in a heavy large saucepan to reach the depth of 3 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat to 350 degrees F.
  6. Stir the eggs, risotto, Parmesan, and 1/2 cup of the bread crumbs in a large bowl to combine. Place the remaining breadcrumbs in a medium bowl. Using about 2 tablespoons of the risotto mixture for each, form the risotto mixture into 1 3/4-inch-diameter balls. Insert 1 cube of mozzarella into the center of each ball. Roll the balls in the bread crumbs to coat.
  7. Working in batches, add the rice balls to the hot ail and cook until brown and heated through, turning them as necessary, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the rice balls to paper towels to drain. Season with salt. Let rest 2 minutes. Serve hot.




Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...