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Hi! I'm Ari, photographer and recipe developer behind Well Seasoned. As a former NYC chef, I'm spilling all my tips and tricks from the restaurant industry with you! To learn more about me click here.

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Mozarella stuffed arancini

Arancini (Italian Rice Balls)

Posted by: Ari Laing

Sicilian arancini, or Italian rice balls, are a delicious appetizer or snack made from cooled risotto. Stuffed with cubes of fresh mozzarella, then coated in breadcrumbs and deep fried, these arancini are creamy in the middle and have a crisp, light exterior. Make ahead and freezer-friendly!

recipe +-

Posted by: Ari Laing
Mozarella stuffed arancini
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Italian Rice Balls

Sicilian arancini, or Italian rice balls, are a delicious appetizer or snack made from cooled risotto. Stuffed with cubes of fresh mozzarella, then coated in breadcrumbs and deep fried, these arancini are creamy in the middle and have a crisp, light exterior. Make ahead and freezer-friendly!
Prep Time50 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Cooling Time1 hr 20 mins
Total Time2 hrs 25 mins
Course: Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Arancini rice balls, Risotto balls, Sicilian arancini
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 464kcal
Author: Ari Laing

Equipment

  • 2 medium saucepans
  • A rimmed baking sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • Spatula
  • Spider or slotted spoon

Ingredients

  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter divided
  • ½ small sweet onion peeled and diced
  • 1 cup sushi rice or other small grain rice, such as Arborio
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • cup Parmesan grated, plus more for serving
  • 1 lemon zested
  • 2 Tbsp chives thinly sliced
  • ½ tsp Kosher salt plus more for seasoning cooked arancini
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 large egg yolk room temperature
  • 4-6 oz fresh mozzarella cut into ¼" cubes
  • ¼ cup rice flour
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • Neutral oil for frying, such as canola oil, vegetable oil, or grapeseed oil
  • Marinara sauce for serving

Instructions

  • Warm the broth. Place 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock in a sauce pan, then bring to a simmer until needed.
  • Make the risotto. Heat 2 Tbsp butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add chopped onion, then sweat for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, to soften. Add 1 cup of uncooked rice, then cook for 3 minutes, stirring often.
  • Add liquid a little at a time. Pour in ½ cup white wine, then allow to cook for 1-2 minutes until most of it has evaporated. Begin adding warm stock 1-2 ladlefuls at a time, stirring constantly. After a couple minutes, most of the stock should have been absorbed by the rice. Repeat, adding more stock and stirring continuously, until the rice is creamy, yet tender, about 20 minutes total. Variation in cook time may be due to the size of your pan or the temperature. You want the rice to be al dente with just the slightest bite. The risotto should move freely around the pan and be more soupy than dry.
  • Flavor the risotto. Stir in ⅓ cup of grated Parmesan, zest of 1 lemon, 2 Tbsp sliced chives, ½ tsp Kosher salt, and ¼ tsp black pepper. Next, add 3 Tbsp heavy cream and 1 egg yolk, then stir well.
  • Cool for 1 hour. Pour the cooked risotto onto a parchment lined baking sheet, then use a spatula or wooden spoon to spread into an even layer. Refrigerate for 1 hour or freeze for 30 minutes.
  • Form the rice balls. Take ~3 Tbsp (or slightly less than ¼ cup) of cooled risotto in the palm of your hand, then place 2 small cubes of fresh mozzarella in the center. Form the rice around the mozzarella cheese, trying your best to seal it tightly. Repeat with remaining risotto. This can be done up to 3 days in advance. If the rice balls seem too loose to move onto the next step, refrigerate or freeze for 10 minutes.
  • Dredge the arancini. Combine ¼ cup rice flour and ½ cup of water in a medium bowl, then whisk well. Place 1 cup of breadcrumbs in a separate bowl. Dredge each rice ball first in the rice flour + water mixture, making sure the ball is completely coated on all sides, then into the breadcrumbs. Shake off any excess, then refrigerate or freeze for at least 10 minutes.
  • Fry the arancini. Heat enough canola or vegetable oil in a sauce pan to go up about 3 inches. Turn the temperature to medium-high. Begin frying when the oil reaches 350F. Carefully place 3 or 4 rice balls in the hot oil (using a spider to submerge them), then fry until golden-brown and crispy on all sides, about ~3-5 minutes per batch. Immediately transfer to a wire rack lined with a paper towel, then season with a pinch of Kosher salt. Repeat until all arancini are cooked. Serve immediately with marinara sauce on the side.

Notes

  • Nutrition facts do not include marinara sauce.
  • To freeze: Allow cooked arancini to cool completely to room temperature, then transfer to a Ziplock bag. Freeze in a single layer for up to 3 months. When ready to serve, reheat in a preheated oven to 375F for 15-20 minutes.
  • We've found that smaller arancini work best. When you use ¼ cup or more of rice, the mozzarella doesn't have time to melt before the outside finishes cooking. Try to use about 3 Tbsp of risotto for the rice balls.

Nutrition

Serving: 3arancini | Sodium: 581mg | Calcium: 229mg | Vitamin C: 12mg | Vitamin A: 639IU | Sugar: 4g | Fiber: 3g | Potassium: 273mg | Cholesterol: 83mg | Calories: 464kcal | Trans Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Fat: 22g | Protein: 15g | Carbohydrates: 49g | Iron: 2mg
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