Arancini- Italian Street Food or Elegant Appetizer? You decide

Arancini, is Italian street food that’s basically fried rice balls. I have done it again. I stole a recipe. This time my victim was Paula at Bell’alimento.

It’s not really my fault. You see I had leftover asparagus risotto from a restaurant in the refrigerator. I had eaten all the asparagus out of it. And while it would have been delicious all on its own, without the asparagus, simply re-heated. I never got around to that. It was getting dangerously close to toss it in the garbage time. As I may have said before, nothing stresses me out more than wasted food.

So here I am at Bell’alimento (I’d encourage you to read her blog but that would be redundant. Of course you already do. Don’t you? Of course you do). So where was I? Oh yes, I was stalking Bell’alimento,  she posted about Arancini. Well in case you don’t know Arancini are fried rice balls and are utterly addicting. Considered street food in Italy they make a fantastic hand-held appetizer for a casual meal, or to accompany a glass of wine. You can dress them up with a marinara sauce and serve them on a plate as a first course. You can stuff ’em with just about anything.

Hollywood Hills HouseSo as I was eyeing her version of Arancini I got the oddest feeling as I was reading her post. You know that feeling like someone is watching you. Because it was like she was peeking inside my refrigerator (just who is stalking whom??) Not only did she know I had leftover risotto. She knew I had eggs, flour, breadcrumbs and mozzarella too. And wait it gets even more eerie! She knew I was having a couple of friends over for a glass of wine to enjoy with the springtime garden.

She knew all this about me. Naturally, I just had to steal her recipe. You know to punish her…


Arancini- Fried Rice Balls makes 16 CLICK here for a printable recipe

  • Fried Rice Balls- Arancini2 c left over risotto
  • 2 large eggs lightly beaten
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2‑inch cubes
  • 1 c flour, or more as needed
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 c prepared dried bread crumbs, or more as needed
  • vegetable oil for frying


Into a deep sided pan {or dutch oven} add approximately 2″ vegetable oil. You may alternatively use a deep fryer. Heat oil to 375 degrees.

While the oil is heating, add 1 beaten egg and risotto to a medium bowl. Stir to combine. Set aside.

Set up breading station with three shallow dishes. Add flour into 1st dish, along with a pinch or 2 of salt and some black pepper to taste. Place remaining egg into 2nd dish and breadcrumbs into 3rd dish.

To make risotto balls: Scoop approximately 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of risotto into your hand. Form into a ball and, using your thumb, indent a well in the ball about as deep as its center. Place 1 cube of mozzarella into the well, close the opening and re-shape into a ball. Adding more risotto if needed to cover the mozzarella. Continue until either you run out of risotto or cheese. You should bet about 16 balls.

Using your left hand roll a completed ball in flour, then transfer to your right hand and roll it in egg, then breadcrumbs. Transfer breaded ball to a tray. This left hand then right hand method will keep one hand relatively clean, and not contaminate the egg mixture with flour or breadcrumbs. Continue until all the balls are breaded.

Place breaded balls into hot oil, taking care not to crowd the pan, fry in batches if necessary. Fry for approximately 2 minutes or until golden. Transfer balls to a plate lined with paper towels. Serve while still warm.


Greg Henry

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