Arancini Caprese

by Shawnda on December 10, 2008

in Appetizers,Pasta, Rice, and Grains

Over my lunch break, I sat my bike on the trainer (the equipment, not the person) and started pedaling. My husband loves to go cycling and I love him enough to get out of bed and ride for 20 miles in 38-degree weather. Now that’s love. And maybe a little bit of crazy mixed in there, too.

The baker in the house gets all kinds of cooking magazines in the mail so it only caught me slightly off-guard to see Bicycling Magazine show up one day. Flipping through it and trying not to fall off my bike, I ran across a recipe for Prosciutto Arancini. I was scanning the recipe when I realized what a cool idea these were – breaded, fried balls of risotto. Not the kind of recipe I expected to see in that kind of magazine.

We always have leftover risotto. It’s a filling one-bowl meal and no matter how little of it I try to make, we always have extra. Day-after risotto is… not really risotto anymore. It can actually get a little gross. The stuff on the bottom corners of the leftover container congeals into a solid, gummy mass. What does manage to stay recognizable as risotto just doesn’t reheat well. One quad-killing lunch break on a bike and my leftover risotto problems were forever solved. And one of the appetizers for Christmas dinner was selected.

Arancini (Fried Risotto/Rice Balls)

Breathe new life into risotto leftovers with arancini.


  • Canola oil (enough to fill a small sauce pan 2-2.5 inches)
  • Fresh mozzarella
  • Cold leftover Risotto Caprese (recipe follows)
  • Bread crumbs (I used 1.5 slices of whole grain bread, processed to fine crumb)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Marinara
  • For the Risotto Caprese:
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp buttermilk
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 cup shredded fresh mozzarella
  • 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan
  • 2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar


  1. To make the risotto: Melt the butter in a large pan. Saute the shallots and garlic until the shallots are tender and translucent.
  2. Add the rice, wine, 3/4 cup chicken broth and stir.
  3. When the risotto has absorbed nearly all the broth, add 3/4 cup chicken broth. Stir frequently and continue adding the chicken broth 3/4 cup at a time.
  4. In a small sauce pan, reduce the balsamic vinegar over medium-low heat until thick and syrupy.
  5. At the last addition of chicken broth, add the tomatoes. Do not let the last addition of chicken broth absorb completely - this is the key to keeping it creamy.
  6. Add the cheese and basil, stir well, and serve with a drizzle of the balsamic reduction. Refrigerate leftovers for arancini.
  7. Heat oil in a small sauce pan to 375.
  8. Cube the mozzarella into 1/2-inch cubes. Scoop the leftover (cold) risotto into a ball. I used a #20 scoop (approx 2 Tbsp).
  9. While still in the scoop, press one cube of mozzarella into the risotto and re-scoop to seal the cheese inside the ball.
  10. Place breadcrumbs and salt in a shallow bowl.
  11. Roll risotto balls in breadcrumbs and drop carefully into the hot oil. Fry each batch for 1.5-2 minutes, until golden brown.
  12. Serve with marinara.


Yields: 3 arancini per serving, servings dependent on leftovers

Arancini inspired by Bicycling Magazine, Risotto from Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 45 minutes

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