Saturday, February 15, 2014

What's Cookin' Good Lookin'? Giant Stuffed Arrancini

Last week I busted out a dinner that was seriously pure deliciousness. Arrancini is technically an appetizer or snack of fried risotto balls, typically made with leftover risotto. I happen to love arrancini and I cook risotto often enough to have a container of arborio rice in my pantry along with the other ingredients I decided to turn the idea of yummy little fried rice balls into a full on meal.

This dish is a bit time consuming, but you can prep most of it way ahead of time (you can even make the risotto a day or two before).

My risotto recipe came from a good friend, so it's not mine to share, but if you are in need of a really good, easy to follow risotto recipe, you can check out this arrancini recipe from Gordon Ramsay on and follow the first half of the recipe which is for his risotto. If you're not a mushroom lover, you can omit the mushroom step and add water to your chicken stock and a little extra cheese at the end.

For my giant stuffed arrancini you will need:

Cooked and cooled risotto (as the Gordon Ramsay recipe states, if you need to cool your risotto quickly, spread it out on a baking sheet covered with wax paper and pop it in the fridge. I tried this myself and it worked great)
1 lb ground turkey
Tomato sauce (approximately one jar...I used leftover homemade)
Fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed
1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
About 1 cup of flour
3 eggs, scrambled
Italian seasoned bread crumbs
Olive oil

In a pan, brown your ground turkey. Add in tomato sauce and let simmer for a few minutes, then fold in the shredded Parmesan cheese until melted.

Take a small handful of cooled risotto, cup your hand and form it into a patty. Place a piece of cubed mozzarella inside and a spoonful of the tomato-meat sauce. Take another handful of risotto and form it over top, then gently roll together to form a ball. You should end up with a rice ball about the size of a lemon.

Once you've used all of the risotto, roll each ball lightly in flour, dip in the egg and then coat with breadcrumbs. Set your coated arrancinis in the fridge for at least 15 minutes (though making these several hours ahead would be fine too). This will make them easier to pan fry.

In a large frying pan, coat the bottom with olive oil (or what ever you prefer to pan fry with) and heat. Place a few of the arrancinis in the pan, and cook until they are golden brown (you will need to flip them and roll them a bit in the pan), about 3-5 minutes each.

I served mine piping hot on top of the remaining meat sauce, and with sautéed zucchini. These were a huge hit and a definite make-again!

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