Arancini are fried and stuffed rice balls and an absolute favourite of mine in terms of how you can use your leftovers, using this week’s leftover Risotto Milanese. Classically, arancini are filled with a ragu of minced meat, tomato sauce and mozarella, this time, however, I stuffed the fried rice balls with ricotta and mushrooms for a vegetarian option. You can really get creative with the filling, which also allows you to use what you have left in the fridge and maybe re-purpose leftover vegetables, meat, or cheese. The frying and shaping needs a little bit of practice, but once you get the hang of it, it is easy enough – and I always like the rice balls to still have a homemade feel about them.
You can serve them as delicious treats in themselves or – as they are quite heavy in calories – I usually serve two to three arancinis with a side of salad for a good lunch or dinner portion.
Ingredients (for 8-10 arancini):
400g Risotto Milanese (prepared)
3 tablespoons of parmesan cheese
150g Champignons (or any mushrooms you like)
5g of dried porcini (soaked in 0.5 dl of water for ca. 15 minutes)
1 small onion
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1/2 bundle of parsley (finely chopped)
200g Ricotta (I usually opt for the local and organic Ricotta from Züger, a company supported by the Swiss Climate Foundation)
Salt and pepper
6-8 tablespoons of breadcrumbs
ca. 200ml of deep frying oil (there are special deep frying oil but peanut oil or a High-Oleic sunflower or rapeseed oil will work as well)
Start by letting the dried porcini soak in a bit of water.
In a separate bowl, mix the parmesan cheese, 1 egg (beaten) and half of the parsley with the prepared risotto. Depending on the consistency of your leftovers, you might want to add more cheese, if the rice is to moist to form a ball that holds its shape. It gets easier if you refridgerate the mixture for roughly 30 minutes before shaping and frying the arancini balls.
For the mixture, finely chop the onion and the mushrooms (both fresh and dried). Heat the olive oil in a pan, then add the onion and the mushrooms and sauté. Deglaze the mushrooms with the water the porcini were soaked in and let it cook out completely.
In a separate bowl, combine the ricotta and the chopped parsley. Add the mushrooms to the mixture and season to taste.
Beat the second egg and put it on a plate. Prepare another plate with the breadcrumbs.
Now take ca. 50-60g of the risotto, stuff a teaspoon of the ricotta mixture in the middle and form a ball. Roll the balls in the egg and then in the breadcrumbs until covered.
In a pot (make sure it’s deep enough so that the oil splatters won’t burn you), heat the frying oil. The oil should be hot but not too hot, so the crumbs won’t burn – I suggest you should not heat it above 180 degrees. Once the oil is hot enough, gently place 4-6 balls in the pot and let them fry for about 4 minutes and until golden brown all around. Take the balls out of the pot and put them on a tray with kitchen paper, it will absorb some of the excess fat. Repeat until all arancini are fried – and enjoy!
Tipp: You can keep leftover arancinis in the fridge for 3-4 days and then reheat them in the oven for 20-25 minutes (uncovered, 200 degrees) when needed.