While I love making risotto, I love eating arancini even more! So every time I make risotto, I make sure I have enough leftover to make some of these fried risotto balls. The traditional breading would be breadcrumbs with Italian seasonings, but I make mine with panko flakes for some added crunch. And if you cut up a stick of mozzarella string cheese and stick them inside the arancini, it gets all warm and gooey after you fry it up and makes for even more of a texture contrast.
Mozzarella Stuffed Arancini
makes 6-7 balls
About 1 1/2 cups leftover risotto
1 stick mozzarella string cheese, cut into 6 pieces
Flour for coating
1 egg, beaten
Panko bread crumbs
Oil for frying
Scoop up about 1/4 cup of risotto into your hand and place a piece of the cheese in the middle. Mold the risotto up and around the cheese to enclose it. Pat the risotto into a ball (it will be too sticky to properly roll). Repeat 5 more times. Place the risotto balls on a plate a refrigerate for at least half an hour.
Prepare your breading station: place some flour into a wide bowl, the beaten egg in another wide bowl, and some panko bread crumbs in another wide bowl. Pour enough oil into a saucepan to reach a depth of 2 inches and start heating on high to 350°F.
Remove the balls from the fridge and one at a time, roll them in the flour to coat, the beaten egg to coat the flour, and the panko bread crumbs to coat the egg.
When the oil has reached 350°F, fry the risotto balls a few minutes on each side until golden brown. Drain on a rack set over paper towels. Serve warm.
These are also good at room temperature and great to pack and eat on the run. You can also add other leftovers to the risotto balls: cooked peas, chopped up chicken, ham, or sausages, etc. I would refrain from adding anything too wet like tomatoes for fear of making the arancini a soggy mess, though.
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