Little Orange Rice Balls (Arancine di Riso)

DSCN0915A popular food in Italy, arancine are fried rice balls. They get their name from oranges (arancia in Italian) because of the round shape and color due to the addition of saffron.  We did not add the saffron because it is  the most expensive spice (add it if you want). Cheese is placed in the center of the rice then rolled in bread crumbs and pan fried. We made  these rice balls smaller than the traditional ones, using a tablespoon of rice to roll into balls. The shaping of the rice balls is made easier by using an OXO small ice cream scoop. This size is perfect to serve as appetizers. Bet you can’t eat just one!

2 cups chicken broth

1 cup arborio or medium-grain rice

1 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1  large egg, beaten

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Peel of one  lemon, finely grated

Dash ground nutmeg

2 ounces mozzarella cheese, diced

For Coating:

1 cup fine dry bread crumbs

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2  large eggs, beaten

1/4 cup vegetable oil

Prep Time: 45 to 50 minutes

Cook Time: 18 to 20 minutes plus chilling

1. In a large saucepan heat chicken broth, rice, salt, and butter to a boil; cover and reduce heat to medium and cook 18 minutes or until the rice is tender.  Remove the rice from the heat; uncover and let stand 30 minutes. Stir 1 egg,  parsley, lemon peel, and nutmeg. into the rice until well mixed.

2. To shape the rice: Place the flour, two beaten eggs, and bread crumbs in three separate bowls. Using a 1-tablespoon ice cream scoop, scoop rice and press a cube of cheese into the center. Shape into a ball to cover cheese.

3. Dip into the flour, then egg, then the bread breads. Place on a baking sheet and  let stand at room temperature  to dry for 30 minutes. Continue shaping the rice balls with the remaining rice and cheese.

4. Heat oven to 325 degrees F. In a large skillet add the oil; heat over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add some of the rice balls to the skillet and brown on all sides, about 4 minutes.

5. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon to a large jelly-roll pan. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes. (Can be made ahead. Cover and freeze up to one month. Thaw at room temperature 30 minutes. Bake in a 325 F. degree oven for 15 to 20  minutes or until hot.) To serve, sprinkle with salt. Serve hot. Makes about 3 dozen.





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