Saturday, January 7, 2012

Arancini (Stuffed Rice Balls)

Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
This is a repeat of an old post but this updated version was made adding my own slight modifications to the original recipe from Lidia's blog. The first time I made this appetizer, I used my extra Bolognese sauce for the filling but I finally made my own and I also modified the way the rice is cooked by simplifying the cooking method. The whole process is a bit involved but it is definitely worth the effort to making these stuffed morsels. 

Arancini (Stuffed Rice Balls) - Adapted*

Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb ground beef
½ cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper
¼ cup celery, finely diced
¼ cup carrots, grated
14 oz can diced tomatoes
1 cup water
¼ cup tomato paste
½ tsp hot red pepper, crushed
¼ tsp thyme
½ tsp oregano
1 cup frozen peas

1. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat.  Saute the garlic and onion 
    and cook until softened. Season with salt and pepper. Add the beef and 
    season with salt and pepper and cook until the water has evaporated and 
    the meat and onion begin to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the thyme
    and oregano and mix well.

2. Stir in the carrots and celery and continue cooking until the vegetables are 
    tender, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, red pepper
    and water. Adjust the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, about
    15 minutes. Increase the heat to medium high and continue to cook 
    uncovered until thick, about 15 minutes. 

3. Stir in the peas and cook for one minutes. Remove from heat and cool to 
    room temperature. Set aside. 

5 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups arborio rice, or other short grain rice
4 large eggs
2 cups Pecorino Romano, grated

1. Bring the stock and 2 tablespoons olive oil to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in 
    the rice, return the water to a boil. Cook the rice uncovered, until the 
    liquid is almost gone. Decrease the heat to low and cover the pan and 
    cook for another 15 minutes or until the rice is al dente. 

2. Drain the rice and spread out on a tray to cool to room temperature. 
    When the rice is cool, scrape it back into a mixing bowl and beat in the 
    eggs and the grated cheese. 

To Coat and Fry the Rice Balls:
3 eggs
1-2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups fine dry breadcrumbs
⅔ cup vegetable oil
⅓ cup olive oil, plus extra for frying

Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
Take a handful of the cooled rice mixture and shape it into a small ball in the palm of your hand. Make a well in the center of the ball and drop in 1 tablespoon of the ragu. Work the rice so that it completely encloses the ragu, and re-form the rice into a smooth ball. Continue with the remaining rice and ragu.

Whisk the 3 eggs in a mixing bowl. Spread the flour on one plate and the bread crumbs on another.

Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
Dredge a few of the rice balls in the flour to coat all sides. Tap off excess flour. Roll the rice balls in the beaten egg to coat, allowing any excess egg to drip back into the bowl. Finally, roll the rice balls in the bread crumbs, pressing lightly to coat evenly with the crumbs.. Remove to a clean baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining rice balls.
Heat the vegetable oil and olive oil into a deep skillet. Test the temperature of the oil by dipping a rice ball in. It should give off a lively but steady sizzle. If nothing happens, the oil isn't hot enough. If the oil around the bread-crumb coating boils and sputters, the oil is too hot. Adjust accordingly.

Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
When the oil comes to temperature, carefully slip about a third of the rice balls into the oil. Fry, turning as necessary with tongs or a slotted spoon, until golden brown and crisp on all sides, about 4 minutes. Remove to the paper towel-lined baking sheet, keeping them hot in the oven if you like. Fry the remaining balls. Serve hot or at room temperature.

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