When I first came across Arancini I thought they were a waste of a good risotto. Not any more. The first ones I had, were a bit dry and lacking in flavour. Arancini shouldn’t be like that, at their best they are light and crisp on the outside and rich and creamy on the inside with a massive flavour hit. These use the Porcini Mushroom and Truffle Risotto recipe. The original idea is that Arancini were a great way to use left over risotto. I actually make one large risotto occassionally and turn it into hundreds of little balls, some to be used fresh, but others you can freeze.
Fridge Cold Left over Risotto
1/2 cup of plain flour
breadcrumbs (panko are the best, they are Japanese breadcrumbs available in Asian food stores and they go very crispy)
Oil for deep frying
A few drops of truffle oil
You can make these any size, but for me they are best as an amuse bouche and they should be small. One teaspoon in size is about right. Making Arancini is a little of an effort and it is easiest to do these in a production line working left to right. Have your cold risotto to the left, put flour into a bowl on it right. Crack the eggs into another bowl and whisk to break them up and put on the right, then put the panko/breadcrumbs in a bowl on the furthest right. At the very end have a baking try with flour on it to stop the Arancini sticking once they are made.
Making and Shaping Arancini
First flour your hands, they are going to get messy. Take a teaspoon of the risotto into your hands and shape into a ball, put the ball into the flour. Repeat until you have 8 risotto balls in the flour. At this stage if you want them perfectly round, take a wine glass, put a little flour into it to dust it. Drop a ball in and swizzle it around firmly. This creates incredibly round balls, but by hand is absolutely fine and I am not expecting a Michelin judge to turn up at my house. From the flour drop the balls into the egg. Using a fork, gently turn them so they are fully coated. Then drop them into the breadcrumbs/panko. Roll in the breadcrumbs to ensure an even covering and put them on the baking tray. Repeat the process as many times as you can be bothered to. I generally aim for 3 per person. At this stage work out how many you need that day and then freeze the rest making sure they don’t stick together.
Cooking the Arancini
This is the quick, easy part. It does involve deep frying, so if you have a deep fryer use that. Also, always use fresh oil. I use a pan, fill it no more than one third full of oil and if you are not confident with a pan please be careful. Have some kitchen paper ready to drain the oil from the Arancini and also have a bowl, the truffle oil and some salt ready to go. Heat the oil until it is hot enough to make a few breadcrumbs sizzle. Carefully drop in the Arancini. Make sure they are cooking evenly all over. Once they are a light golden colour they are ready. Take them out and put them on kitchen paper. Then put them in a bowl, add a few drops of truffle oil and season with the salt. They are very hot, but at this point you need to try them. Just as you eat them you get the heady smell of truffle, crisp outside of panko, and a gooey, chessy, mushroomy risotto inside. They are my idea of food heaven. Serve a few at a time, and then cook some more. Always making sure you are careful with the deep fryer. I promise guests will be impressed and you will think it worth the effort.