Rice Balls (Arancini)

    2 hours 10 minutes

    Arancini originated in Sicily and are breaded and fried rice balls. They are commonly filled with ragù (meat sauce), tomato sauce, mozzarella and/or peas.

    24 people made this

    Makes: 20 arancini balls

    • 1 cup (250ml) white wine
    • 1 pinch saffron threads, crushed
    • 30g butter
    • 1 small white onion, diced
    • 3 cups (700g) arborio rice
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
    • 6 cups (1 1/2 litres) chicken stock, or as needed
    • 1 cup (80g) grated parmesan cheese
    • 500g fontina or gruyere cheese, cut into 1cm cubes
    • 2 cups (230g) plain dried breadcrumbs
    • 1 litre olive oil (for frying)

    Preparation:40min  ›  Cook:30min  ›  Extra time:1hour chilling  ›  Ready in:2hours10min 

    1. Lightly grease a large baking tray with olive oil.
    2. Place the wine and saffron in a cup. Stir briefly then let it sit.
    3. Melt the butter in a large frypan over medium heat. Add the onion and stir for 3 minutes or until transparent. Mix in the rice and continue cooking and stirring until the rice has absorbed most of the butter.
    4. Slowly stir the white wine and saffron into the rice. Stir continuously until the wine is absorbed and rice is creamy. Season with thyme. Pour in 1 cup of chicken stock at a time, cooking and stirring constantly until each cup of stock is absorbed before adding the next. Stop adding stock when the rice is tender. If you run out of stock you may use water. Remove from the heat, stir in the parmesan cheese and allow to cool until you can touch it without burning your hands.
    5. Pour the rice mixture out onto the greased baking tray and spread evenly. Chill in refrigerator for about 1 hour.
    6. When the rice is cool roll small portions into balls about the size of golf balls. Tuck a cube of fontina/gruyere cheese into the centre of each one. Roll each ball in breadcrumbs to coat.
    7. Heat the olive oil in a heavy saucepan or deep fryer to 180 degrees C. The oil should be about 8cm deep. When the oil is hot fry the arancini until they reach a golden orange brown colour; about 3 minutes. Arancini literally means 'little oranges'. Cool and drain on paper towels for 5 minutes then serve with any marinara sauce.

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    Reviews in English (11)


    I learned to make this recipe in an Italian Cooking class I took. My husband, who doesn't like rice, begs for these. We also added diced fine ham. We were told this is a staple in Sicilian households  -  02 Oct 2007  (Review from Allrecipes USA and Canada)


    The only changes I made to this recipe were that I used 1 tsp. dried thyme because I didn't have fresh, and I used Mozzarella cheese because I couldn't find Fontina. I am puzzled by the indication that this recipe yields 6 servings. Dividing the risotto mixture into 6 produces croquettes about 3-1/2" diam. each, which is about the size of a softball, and that's before inserting the cheese! Dividing the risotto into 36 instead, produced croquettes about 1-3/4" diam., and were the right size for inserting 3/4" cubes of cheese. Once filled with the cheese, each croquette is about 2" diam. Final note...only 2/3 cup of bread crumbs was required to coat all 36 arancini croquettes. I enjoyed these, but am only giving this 4 stars because two in my family aren't big fans of Parmesan (necessary, because it's the "glue" that holds the risotto together). Hope these notes are helpful.  -  16 Jul 2007  (Review from Allrecipes USA and Canada)


    Who knew risotto could get any better? I used this to get rid of left overs, and it was great. I didn't have a deep frier so I pan fried them. They were a little lop sided, but tasted great.  -  03 Oct 2006  (Review from Allrecipes USA and Canada)