Arancini, or arancini di riso, is a traditional Sicilian creation thought to date back to the 10th century. Wonderful as an antipasto, they are essentially little fried, stuffed rice balls. The Italian word for orange is arancia. In the delightfully imaginative Italian manner, arancini are so named because, when cooked, they resemble little oranges.
I always use risotto in making arancini, but "regular" rice will work, too. Arancini are a great way to use up leftover rice. You'll need:
2 cups risotto (or other cooked rice)
2 eggs, divided (1 beaten)
1 tablespoon milk
4 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup dry bread crumbs
Vegetable oil for frying
If using freshly prepared risotto, allow it to cool slightly.
Stir the beaten egg into the risotto. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining egg and milk with a fork. For each ball, roll 2 tablespoons of the risotto into a ball. Press a piece of the mozzarella cheese into the center, and roll to enclose. Coat lightly with flour, dip into the milk mixture, then roll in bread crumbs to coat.
Heat oil for frying in a deep-fryer or large deep saucepan to 350°. Fry the balls in small batches until evenly golden, turning as needed. Drain on paper towels. Keep warm in a low oven while the rest are frying.
Yields approximately 18 pieces
Arancini freeze well before or after frying. Fry frozen uncooked rice balls as indicated. For already fried, reheat in a preheated 350° oven for 20 to 25 minutes.
You can also add small cubes of ham or chicken along with the mozzarella for a flavorful variation.