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 dumfounded by two things.
- How had I never heard of this divine apertif, and,
- 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!