Monday, December 21, 2015

Fried Arancini

Helloooooo, beauties!

We're here, in the holiday rush. Running from party to party, wrapping gifts, and cooking up a storm.

Of course, we aren't hiding from it. We are embracing it, charging full steam ahead to spend the last couple of weeks of 2015 (I'm sorry, what and where was I?) with those we love most.

I have unlocked the magic of the holiday season with these special, delicious, other-worldly appetizers. Homemade start to finish. The perfect holiday treat for new friends and old. Fried Arancini. Who could say no to these golden nuggets?! Nobody, that's who.

I'm normally not one to brag about my kitchen escapades, but even I have to admit that I impressed myself when I took the first bite of my freshly fried arancini. I was even more flattered when these absolutely FLEW off our holiday party table. If you're planning a last minute holiday party, or a quiet night in with good friends and family, make my fried arancini the star of the show!

Here's the thing though: these rather impressive apps are actually not all that difficult to make, so long as you plan ahead (which, if I can do that, so can you!). I've included a good deal of detail in the recipe below (including a full risotto recipe), so don't be intimidated by the length - I'm just trying to make things easier for you!

Here's what you need for Fried Arancini (Print Recipe*!)

for the risotto
4 tablespoons butter
1 shallot, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
5 1/2 cups chicken broth, warmed
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons fresh minced parsley
salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste

for the arancini
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten with a splash of water
1/2 cup seasoned italian breadcrumbs
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 gallon vegetable oil
sea salt

other tools
parchment-lined jelly roll pan
Heavy pot, such as a 5 quart dutch oven
candy thermometer
slotted spoon or spider skimmer

Here's what you do

for the risotto
In a large soup pot or dutch oven, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add the shallot and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes, until tender and fragrant, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Add the arborio rice and toast for about 90 seconds. Slowly add the white wine, stirring constantly until the liquid is absorbed (about a minute or two). Add 5 cups of the warmed chicken broth (see note). Stir together then cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed, stirring a few times. If the risotto is soaking up liquid too quickly and the rice is still hard, add the additional 1/2 cup of chicken broth.

Turn off the heat, then gently but thoroughly stir in the cheese and parsley. Season as desired. Since the arancini is deep fried, I like to use a slightly heavier hand with the salt and red pepper flakes since it will hold up well. Spoon the risotto onto the prepared jelly roll pan or rimmed baking sheet and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate overnight.

for the arancini
Place the flour in a shallow bowl or dish. Beat the eggs in a separate shallow bowl. Finally, combine the breadcrumbs and some salt and pepper in a third shallow bowl or dish. Using a medium cookie scoop, roll the risotto into 2-inch balls. Dredge in the flour, shaking off the excess; repeat with the egg mixture. Finally, coat each ball in the breadcrumbs and place on a clean baking sheet. Repeat until all the risotto is used up, then chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

While the arancini chills, fill your dutch oven with the vegetable oil. Fit the candy thermometer to the side of the pot and submerge in the oil, being sure not to touch the bulb to the bottom of the pan. Heat the oil over medium heat until it reaches 350 degrees farenheit.

Line a large plate with paper towels. Using a spider skimmer, slowly submerge 4 or 5 rice balls into the oil, being careful not to splash the hot oil! Cook until golden brown on all sides, gently stirring the balls once or twice to ensure even browning. Transfer to the paper towel-lined plate and immediately sprinkle with salt. Bring oil back up to temperature then repeat with remaining arancini. I got about 25 rice balls from this batch of risotto.

Serve immediately or at room temperature with marinara sauce.

Note: Traditional risotto is cooked by gradually stirring a cup or so of broth into the rice until all the broth is used up. Since we are deep-frying this risotto, it is less important that we abide by this traditional cooking method, so we can make this more like regular rice. I've made risotto on the blog once before, here, for your reference.

*Gas Stove Girl original recipe

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