Dressed or undressed? Naked or topped? You could have these flirty dirty Arancino de riso as individual party food or have half a dozen Arancini each like we did, dipped in spicy-on-the-lips Arrabbiata sauce with some parmesan and leaf salad picked from the garden on the side.
Arranging the Arancini balls like a Ferrero Rocher pyramid and pre-serving them in a 12 berth egg box was suitably Easter celebratory.
Arancini (or Arancine, there’s a gender debate in Sicily) is a fave I’ve been trying to master for a couple of years now but I’ve finally got the mixture down to a successful fine art where none collapse and the homemade breadcrumb batter remains light and thin and the Italian leftover Risotto rice balls are not heavy and dense. (I used 3 small-medium eggs for 12 balls)
It’s mucky prep with a fair bit of innuendo making the balls (as Floor knows), using your finger (or the end of a wooden spoon) to make a hole, filling it with cheese, cupping them back into a rounded shape and banging them back and forth in breadcrumbs till they are covered and hold together.
It’s a great way to re-use rice, getting dirty in the kitchen, creating sticky balls in your hand, pushing Mozzarella (other fillings are available) into the centre, adding either a flour and water (risky purists) or egg and flour (safety constructionists) surface – I kept it simple with egg only, before dipping in a covering of fine breadcrumbs
This is my favourite use of leftover Italian Risotto, so much so that I deliberately cook up enough to have leftovers.
I suppose the proof is in the eating. Arancheesy! Mozzarella melting inside the Arancini balls, gooey for gobbling down dipped in the Arrabbiata spicy sauce. Eating al fresco a mano in the glorious Spring weather is a blessed relief from the Covid news. And Esther (Katy’s girlfriend) exemplifies elegant scoffing!
Arrabbiata “angry” sauce makes the perfect spicy dip for Arancini. The tomato passata based sauce has herbs, garlic, chilli, Tabasco, hot paprika, red onion, dash of balsamic or Worcestershire sayce, red wine, red pepper, and some fresh plum tomatoes if you like it chunky rather than smooth.
Served up with a very easy-drinking on a hot day smooth berry and cherry rich with subtle liquorice Giordano vini Barbera d’Asti medium bodied dry red wine. It doesn’t steal the show from the food but is a pefect straight guy to the funny guy in a culinary double act. This 2016 vintage was commended at a wine award.
More tips from great homecooks: