It’s been dark and cloudy outside the whole day. It’s one of those days where I just feel like being lazy. No big cooking sessions, more like grabbing something quick to eat. So I started browsing through an old tapas book that I haven’t looked at in a long time, and I ran into that yummy crispy rice ball recipe! It reminded me that actually I have been planning for a long time to make arancini again. As delicious as they might be, there’s no way I felt motivated to spend hours in the kitchen today to prepare those Sicilian stuffed rice balls. So the easier and quicker tapas version came just handy :)
2 tbsp of olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
140 g / 5 oz of risotto rice
80 ml / 2¾fl oz of white wine
400 ml of vegetable broth
30 g / 1 oz of grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp of chopped parsley
salt & pepper
100 g of diced (buffalo) mozzarella (12 pieces)
3 small cherry tomatoes, halved
12 basil leaves
1 beaten egg
flour, as needed
breadcrumbs, as needed
(canola) oil to fry
* * * * *
Heat the olive oil in a pot. Add the onion and garlic and stew for about 4min. Then add the rice and let it roast gently for 2min. Pour in the wine and stir until evaporated. Add the broth and let the rice cook for about 20min while stirring in between. When the rice gets creamy add the Parmesan cheese, the chopped parsley, salt and pepper, as needed. Mix it well and finally spread the rice on a flat plate, so it can cool off faster.
When it’s cold enough, separate it into 12 portions. I chose two different fillings. One with basil and mozzarella, the other came with half cherry tomato on top.
So wrap one basil leave around a piece of mozzarella, and add the tomato (to taste). Take one portion of rice and cover the basil and mozzarella until it looks like a little rice ball. Make sure to avoid any holes, otherwise there’s a chance that the rice ball will open up and fall apart when frying.
While you let them rest for about 15min, heat enough oil in a pot (190°C/374°F) to cover the rice balls that you will add later.
In the meantime prepare three cups or small plates. One filled with the flour, one with the beaten egg and the last one with the breadcrumbs. Dip the rice balls in, in exactly that order. Shake off any excess. Press them each time again with your hands in order to obtain a nice round shape.
You can check if the oil temperature is fine by frying a little piece of bread or a rice grain. (Please use a splatter shield and put one or two kitchen towels on top, just in case!). If it gets golden brown within a few seconds, you can carefully add the rice balls, turning them occasionally for about 5min, until they get a nice golden color. Place them on a plate covered with a kitchen towel to absorb the excess oil. Serve hot.
Be very careful with the hot oil!! Normally it shouldn’t spit, as long as the rice ball doesn’t open and the water in the mozzarella doesn’t get in touch with the hot oil!
Inspired by 500 Tapas, Bruschettas & Co., Susannah Blake
Prep Time: approx. 1h
Serves 4 (12 pieces)