August 16, 2010

Arancini - Italian Rice Balls

Arancini are fried, (or less commonly baked), rice balls coated with breadcrumbs, said to have originated in Sicily in the 10th century. The name derives from the food's shape and color, which is reminisient of an orange (The Italian word for orange is arancia, and in Sicilian arancici means little oranges.) Commonly in Sicily these rice balls are filled with ragu or vegetables, it is more of a Roman flair to have them filled with cheese, they are called suppli.

I saw a posting for this recipe on Brown Eyed Baker and thought, I have to make those! They looked delicious and sounded pretty easy to put together. I mean what could be better than rice and cheese, baked and all gooey in the middle...Yum! I was happy to see that these rice balls were baked, rather than fried. I am trying to make healthier choices these days so its nice to have the option to bake instead of deep fry. I also made my own quick marinara sauce to go with the little rice nuggets and I was quite proud of how that turned out.

Arancini - Italian Rice Balls
(original recipe from Brown Eyed Baker is here.)

2 eggs
2 cups cooked rice
3/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs
4 oz. mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes, about 1 cup
2 T olive oil

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper

2. Beat eggs lightly with a fork. Combine with the cooked rice and mix thoroughly.

3. Take 1 tablespoon of the rice mixture, place a cube of mozzarella in the middle ane then top with another tablespoon of the rice mixture. Shape into a ball and roll in the breadcrumsbs. Place on parchement-lined baking sheet and continue with the rest of the rice mixture.

4. Refrigerate the pan of rice balls for at least 30 minutes.

5. Meanwhile preheat oven to 425. Drizzle 2 T of olive oil over the rice balls.

6. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve with warm marinara sauce.

Marinara alla BellaRosa
(I know totally cheese right HA!)

1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes, pureed (or 1 can crushed tomatoes)
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1/4 sweet onion, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, grated or finely minced
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. red pepper flake
1/2 tsp. sugarsalt and pepper

Heat olive oil in a small or medium sauce pot, add onion and garlic and saute until softened. Add the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce and seasonings. Simmer until slightly thickened, about 20 minutes.

Gooey, baked Italian Rice Balls
with Marinara Sauce let me just say...these were a pain in the butt to make!!! The rice was really hard to work with, trying to form them into balls...I swear I lost a lot of the rice in the breadcrumb cause I was just trying to get it to stick together and keep a ball shape. It was really messy and I found I almost gave up cause I was getting so aggravated that it wouldn't stay together. I finally found a way to get it to stay was to just press the breadcrumb into it and almost have the breadcrumb help with binding it all together.

I totally forgot about refrigerating them before baking, but I was so frustrated. They came out great though! They were really delicious and very satisfying. I don't know when I would make these again, I mean they are really good, but a pain to make. I was really proud of my sauce though, I thought it was quite tasty. These were interesting to make, a pain, but the end result was delicious. Also according to the wikipedia definition, I think these should be called suppli...but what do I know?

Baked Arancini

Eat, Drink and Be Merry!


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