Deep frying things just has a way of making all sorts of simple things more interesting, and well, downright incredible. So imagine if you took something that was already pretty incredible to start with, and then deep fried that…well that would just have to yield something all the more incredible, right? Yes, yes it does.
Arancini di Riso is the proper Italian name for deep-fried balls of leftover risotto. If you haven’t noticed by now, I like to make risotto–lots of different kinds depending on what’s in season. Its creamy, luxurious, and a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. The one downer with risotto though is that the leftovers are just never the same as when you serve it fresh–the flavor is just as good, but the texture is forever gone and that’s a part of what makes risotto so special.
Arancini is the answer to that problem. You simply scoop balls of leftover risotto (which keep together with ease on account of the starch and cheese), batter, and deep fry. In this context, the texture is simply fantastic, and as far as fried finger food goes, this is incredible–a crisp exterior, salty and tangy with grated parmigiano reggiano, that once bitten, just oozes with an explosion of creamy, flavor. Plus, this turns your leftovers into something practically new, which is just a double win. And you get to eat more risotto. Triple win.
For this rendition, I used some leftover beet risotto (the only major deviation from the posted recipe: I included sautéed cremini mushrooms).
- leftover risotto (pick any of the recipes I linked above if you’re looking for ideas)
- bread crumbs
- 2 eggs
- vegetable oil (enough to submerge the arancini)
- Parmigiano Reggiano
Step one, have leftover risotto. This means you made risotto hours, if not days ago. The leftovers need to have been refrigerated long enough for the risotto to completely thicken up. If you try to make fresh risotto and go straight to this recipe, you will meet a frustrating end.
So armed with the cold leftovers, form balls of risotto of whatever size suits you. For me, these were small palmfuls, rolled lightly into balls.
In a bowl, beat the eggs, thinning with a splash of water.
In a second bowl, set out the bread crumbs.
In a deep pot, warm up enough oil to submerge the risotto balls. Don’t expect to fry them all at once or to even think about stacking them–you will be working in batches. Let this warm up over medium heat for about five minutes.
Once the oil is up to temperature, one ball at a time, dip in the egg, roll in the bread crumbs, and gently slide this into the oil. Fry these for three minutes.
Remove the fried balls with a slotted spoon and set down on a paper towel lined plate. Promptly grate some cheese on while still hot so that it adheres.
Like fresh risotto, serve promptly–as if you had any other plans. Enjoy!