Arancini (Rice Balls)
These Italian Arancini are stuffed with Prosciutto, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Mozzarella Cheese. And, yes, these are the ingredients that comfort food is made from.
So what are Arancini? They are an Italian delight. They come in large 3-4″ rounds or small 2″ rounds. Made of rice and often stuffed with a ground beef in a tomato sauce, peas and cheese. These little Italian Arancini treasures are dipped in an egg wash, coated with breadcrumbs and either pan fried or deep fried.
These Italian Arancini are quite simply an Italian delicacy.
Rice Balls are often served as an appetizer and topped with a marinara sauce. If you would like my recipe for marinara sauce, click just here.
The ones I made today, were stuffed with prosciutto, sun-dried tomatoes and mozzarella. If you are a carbaholic (like me), you will love these rice balls!
Tips and Tricks to Making the Best Italian Arancini
What Kind of Rice do I use to Make the Best Rice Balls?
To make the Rice Balls you’ll need a rice with a high starch content. The higher the starch content, the easier it will be to get the rice to stick together. For the perfect Arancini you will need either “Italian Style” rice or arborio rice. Yes, Italian Style rice is a thing. Do not, for the love of Pete, use long grain rice! I used this rice type and brand to make these Arancini. And if you want to see a brand of Italian Style Rice, click here.
Cooking Your Rice
Cook your rice as per the box directions. Do not overcook the rice. Drain your rice and let it sit in the colander and cool down completely. You will not be able to use the rice right away because [hot rice ] plus [raw eggs] equals rice scramble. LOL!
Assembling the Rice Balls
This is one of those recipes where you will want to have all your ingredients portioned out and ready, like an assembly line. Start to assemble the middle treats. Cut the prosciutto and sun-dried tomatoes lengthwise. Roll the prosciutto so that it holds the sund-ried tomato and the mozzarella in a little ball. These bundles shouldn’t be bigger than one inch because they will be placed in the center of the Rice Ball.
Portion the rice into four equal portions. Grab one portion of rice and begin to form it into a large ball. If the rice is too runny, don’t despair, add some breadcrumbs to the mixture to dry up the mixture. Make a hole in the middle of the rice ball and place a prosciutto bundle in the centre. Then strategically cover the bundle with the excess rice in your hand.
P.S. traditional filling consists of ground beef in a sauce, with peas and mozzarella. The reason I didn’t use the traditional rice ball stuffing, is because I didn’t have any beef ragu on hand, so I improvised. Be creative – run with this, the possibilities are endless.
Frying the Italian Arancini
Once you have dipped them in the egg wash and rolled them in breadcrumbs, place them on parchment paper until you are ready to fry them.
These Italian Arancini can either be fried in a deep fryer or a saucepan that has at least 3 inches of vegetable oil. For best results use an oil that has a high smoke point. Your oil should be at least 325°F hot. If you do not have a thermometer, test the oil by placing some leftover rice or a little bit of breadcrumbs in the oil and when the oil reacts by fizzing, it should be ready. Remove any rice or breadcrumbs that are left behind in the oil so that the oil doesn’t have or later develop a burnt taste.
Store leftovers in an airtight container for a maximum of five days. You can also freeze for later.
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Recipe Details for the Best Arancini di Riso
- In a medium saucepan, filled with water and salt boil rice until al dente. Do not overcook otherwise you will be making rice pudding! Drain rice and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Place the drained rice in a large bowl. If the rice is cool enough, you can start to mix in the eggs, parmesan cheese and the tomato sauce or paste if you have it on hand. If you con't have tomato sauce/past on hand, skip it! So that the arancini are the same size, divide the rice into four portions.
- Start to assemble the middle treats. Cut the prosciutto and sundried tomatoes lengthwise. Roll the prosciutto so that it holds the sundried tomato and the mozzarella in a little ball. The bundles shouldn't be bigger than one inch.
- Grab one quarter of the rice and begin to form it into a large ball. If the rice is too runny, don't despair, add some breadcrumbs to the mixture to dry up the mixture. (Note though that the cup of breadcrumbs in the ingredient list is to roll the arancini.)
- Once you have formed the balls, tunnel a little hole into the centre and push the prosciutto bundles in the middle. Then reform the arancini ball. Role the arancini in the breadcrumbs to cover all of the arancini surface. Carefully place it on a tray or plate and let rest while you make the other arancini.
- In a medium saucepan or deep fryer at 180ºF, fry the arancini until golden brown (about 10 minutes). If you like the taste of garlic, you can fry a clove of garlic in the oil so that the arancini absorb the garlic scent. Remove the garlic from the oil before frying the arancini, otherwise the garlic will burn. Place on a plate covered with a paper towel to absorb oil.
If you are making these ahead of time, you can place them in the oven at 200º F to keep them warm.
Some people even have tomato sauce on the side to drizzle on top of the arancini. Get my Easy Marinara Sauce here.