Risotto is one of my favourite Italian dishes. The only problem with it is that while it tastes great right off the stove, it doesn’t re-heat well. As a result, until recently, I’d usually make up a big pot of the stuff, and then be left with a lot of cold risotto that tastes sub-par when reheated in the microwave. Alternatively, I’d make just a little, and then have to cook something from scratch for my next meal.
That is, this used to be my problem with making risotto, until I tried some arancini (fried risotto balls) at a restaurant. While eating the arancini, I had an epiphany, and now I have a whole new risotto-system Now, I make up a pot of risotto, eat it fresh off the stove for a meal, and then use the left over risotto to make arancini. I basically roll the left-over risotto into balls, which I refrigerate, and then bake them (instead of frying them because it’s healthier and easier) whenever I am ready for my next meal.
And just like that, I have a delicious, hot meal in a few minutes!
If you’d like to try making some, here’s the recipe for the arancini part of the process. At some point, I will blog about my risotto recipe, in the meantime, there are plenty of recipes out there on the great Internets. For instance, you could try Jamie Oliver’s mushroom risotto, the recipe can be found here. (I’d skip the celery part of the recipe, though, if I were you, (yuck!))
1 pot of risotto (Whichever recipe you use, make sure to chop the mushrooms into fairly small pieces, rather than slicing them. if the mushroom slices are too large, it becomes difficult to shape the risotto into balls for the arancini)
1 cup (approx.) panko crust
3-4 egg whites
1 cup (approx.) flour
Goat cheese or mozzarella to taste for the arancini filling (optional)
Cool the risotto in the fridge for at least a few hours. Once you’re ready to shape the risotto into balls, place three bowls and a baking sheet lined with parchment paper on the counter, table, or wherever you are going to be working. Put the panko crust in one bowl, egg whites in another bowl, and flour in the third.
Using an ice cream scoop, portion some risotto into your hands and shape it into a sphere, about the size of a tennis ball. (If you’d like to make arancini with goat cheese or mozzarella centers, flatten a scoop of risotto in your palm, place the cheese at the centre of the flattened risotto, and then wrap the risotto around the cheese). Now, roll the ball in the flour and place it on the baking sheet. Repeat this process until all the risotto is used up.
Next, dip each flour-coated ball into the egg white, immediately roll it in the panko crust, and then place it on the baking tray.
Once you’re done coating all the balls, you can bake them immediately, or you can store them in Tupperware, and bake them when you’re ready to eat them.
To bake the arancini, pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and place the arancini in the oven on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Bake the arancini for about 15 minutes, until they are crisp and golden brown on the outside. Finally, enjoy!
They’re a great meal, but they’re also great as appetizers for a party.