Arancini Italian Rice Balls
Preparation: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
For the rice:
–1 tablespoon olive oil
-1 medium onion chopped
-1 clove of garlic sliced thinly
-3 bay leaves
-1 cup Arborio rice
-2 ½ cups low sodium chicken stock
-1/2 cup Parmegiano-Reggiano cheese
-1 large whole egg lightly beaten
-1 large egg yolk lightly beaten
For the rice balls filling:
-1/2 cup mozzarella cheese chopped
-1/2 cup prosciutto chopped
Ingredients to roll the rice balls into:
-1 cup all-purpose flour
-3 large egg whites beaten with a fork
-2 cups Italian breadcrumbs
-vegetable oil for deep frying
Cooking the rice from scratch:
In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, garlic, bay leaf and sauté for about 3 minutes or just until the onion is soft and translucent.
Stir in the rice. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil then lower to a simmer. Cook the rice until tender and all the liquid has absorbed, for about 20 minutes.
Remove the bay leaf and discard it.
Once the rice is cooked, transfer to a bowl and cool completely. When cooled, stir in the grated Parmesan cheese, beaten egg and egg yolk.
Shaping and filling the balls:
Divide the mixture in 12 equal portions and place the portions on a small tray. Having these portions ready will make it easier to fill the rice balls.
Keep a small bowl filled with water close by and from time to time moisten your hands for easy rolling of the rice balls.
Combine the prosciutto and mozzarella together in a small bowl.
With moistened hands, scoop up 1/4 cup of the rice mixture and cup it in one hand. Use your other hand to flatten it slightly while making an indentation. Place about a teaspoon of the mozzarella and prosciutto mixture in the middle. Close your hand, making a fist and gently roll into a ball. If needed, you can always add more rice.
Place the rice ball on a greased cookie sheet and repeat with the remaining rice and filling to form 12 rice balls.
Roll the rice balls, one at a time, first in the flour then in the egg whites and finely in the breadcrumbs while turning to coat all over and place them back on a cookie sheet.
Cover with plastic wrap and then chill for 30 minutes.
To deep fry the rice balls:
In the meantime, line a cookie sheet with paper towels and place it next to your stove.
Heat the vegetable oil in a deep-frying pan (the oil should measure about 2 inches deep), to 350*F. Use a deep-frying thermometer for accuracy. Make sure there is enough oil in the pan to ensure they cook evenly.
Use a wire skimmer or a large, slotted spoon to gently lower the rice balls into the hot oil. Do not overcrowd them.
Fry the rice balls for about 2 minutes or until golden brown and crispy all over. You can also keep them warm in the oven preheated to 200*F while you fry up the rest.
When ready, remove with the wire skimmer or your slotted spoon and place them on the prepared cookie sheet to drain.
Repeat with the remaining rice balls.
Serve while hot alongside tomato sauce.