Making Arancini (Rice Balls) The Easy Way
I am not Italian. I don’t have an Italian grandmother who hands down all her delicious culinary secrets so I have to pretend and make stuff up as I go along.
I love rice.
I love cheese.
I love fried things.
I love fried things dipped in marinara sauce.
Here is how a non-Italian makes arancini (rice balls) and it couldn’t be simpler or more delicious.
- 3 cups cooked and cooled rice.
- 1 egg
- Mozzarella cheese cubes
- 1/4 cup flour
- Italian flavored panko bread crumbs (or make your own)
- Bertolli Riserva Marinara Sauce
Combine all the ingredients with the exception of the bread crumbs, mozzarella cheese and the marinara sauce.
I add the flour and egg to help the rice to stick to itself and form nice rice balls. I am not the most talented person when it comes to making rice correctly so the addition of these two ingredients helps cover up any cooking mistakes I might make in my rice cooking.
With clean hands, scoop up a small amount of the rice mixture and squeeze it into a ball the size of a tangerine.
I found that if you give it a good hard squeeze it will help hold its shape.
Press a cube of mozzarella cheese into the center of the rice ball.
I find that the fresh mozzarella cheese works best and melts nicely but I have also used mozzarella cheese sticks in a pinch.
Make sure the mozzarella cheese is completely encrusted in rice.
Add a bit more rice if needed.
Aren’t they pretty?!
This recipe made a dozen arancini but this recipe could easily be scaled to a larger recipe if you need to feed a bigger crowd.
I have seen some recipes that have you roll the rice balls in flour and then egg wash followed by the bread crumbs.
I have had good luck rolling them directly in the bread crumbs. You are welcome to do the flour/egg wash method….I just wanted to save time!
Make sure the bread crumbs are pressed firmly into the rice balls.
In 350 degree oil, fry them for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown and head through.
Don’t over crowd your pan or you will loose temperature in the oil.
Allow them to drain on paper towels.
Sprinkle with salt.
Serve in a pool of Bertolli® Riserva marinara.
You may want to mix up your dipping sauce by choosing another one of the Bertolli® Riserva sauces:
• Bertolli® Porcini Mushrooms & White Truffle Oil
• Bertolli® Asiago Cheese & Artichokes
• Bertolli® Balsamic Vinegar & Caramelized Onions
It’s been more than 150 years since Francesco Bertolli began selling his olive oil in the small town of Lucca, Italy. In 1865, Francesco opened a small storefront business selling regional foods such as olive oil, wine, cheese and olives. In the late 1800s, Italian immigrants in America, unable to find the products to which they were accustomed, wrote to Bertolli asking for crates of olive oil. In reply, Bertolli sent orders to America and thus became the first exporter of olive oil. From its beginnings in olive oil, Bertolli today has grown to also include a broad range of Italian-inspired pasta sauce and skillet meals. Today, more than 150 years since Francesco Bertolli began selling his olive oil in Lucca, Italy, the original “Villa Bertolli” at piazza S. Donato still stands – just as Bertolli remains at the heart of the Italian-inspired cuisine enjoyed at home by millions of families around the world.
Join us in celebrating 150 years of delicious food, friends and family. Felice Anniversario and Buono Appetito!
Tips from the Bertolli Cooking School:
MAKING FLOWERS LAST LONGER
Centerpieces bring any dinner to life. Keep them healthy by adding a sugar cube to provide nutrients and a penny to fight bacterial growth in the water.
SET YOUR TABLE THE TUSCAN WAY
A classic Italian table setting has multiple glasses—one for water, one for white wine and one for reds. It isn’t dinner without vino! I couldn’t agree more)
THE ESSENTIAL OLIVE
Native to the Mediterranean area, olives are essential in Italian cooking. The difference in olive colors is due to ripeness. Green olives are picked before they are ripe, while black olives ripen fully.
ANTIPASTI (my favorite!!!)
There are typically five courses in a traditional Italian meal. Antipasti, the first course, might include crostini, bruschetta, or salami.
BUILDING AN ANTIPASTI TRAY
Get out your finest wooden platter and include items such as:
- Cheeses: Provolone, mozzarella, brie
- Cured Meat: Salami, prosciutto, spicy pepperoni
- Vegetables: Roasted red pepper, artichoke, pepperoncini
- Fruit: Grapes, strawberry, cantaloupe
- Crostini or crackers
GET THE MOST FROM YOUR LEMONS
Citrus adds a lovely kick to dishes, so get more juice from your lemons. Either microwave it for 20 seconds or roll on a hard surface before cutting.
DON’T RINSE THAT PASTA
When your pasta is off the stove and drained, be sure to leave it alone! The starch left on pasta after cooking actually helps it absorb whatever sauce you are using.
THE RIGHT RICE FOR RISOTTO (my FAVORITE!!!)
When making risotto, make sure you have the best rice for the job. The starch found in Italian short-grain rice varieties such as Arborio or Carnaroli is the perfect way to add to a risotto’s creamy texture.
More more tips on brining Tuscany to your table visit this link.
How You Can Help
For each photo shared via social media using #MyTuscanTable throughout October, Bertolli® will make a $1 donation to help end childhood hunger in America through a partnership with No Kid Hungry. With each dollar, No Kid Hungry will provide 10 healthy meals to kids in need, up to a half a million meals. No Kid Hungry is ending childhood hunger in America by ensuring kids have the healthy food they need, every day. The Bertolli® brand is proud to lend its passion for uniting people over food to help connect kids struggling with hunger to the nutritious meals they need to grow and thrive.