Risotto Balls or Arancini? Who cares — they’re GOOD!

On occasion, I’ll visit a local restaurant who has AMAZINGLY, DELICIOUS food, where the wine list is affordable, the appetizers are decadent and unique and their main courses are apparently just as appetizing.  Truth be told, I’ve never made it there for an actual main course – really who needs to order a meal when the appetizers are so incredible?  If you’ve ever been to Mixers in Valencia, you know exactly what I’m talking about!

Anyways, one of my absolutely favorite items on the Mixers menu has to be their Risotto Balls.  There’s just no way that I can go to Mixers without ordering some — and if I don’t, it’s because I’m out of my right mind at that moment.  I have been fascinated as to how can something so luscious be encased in breaded deep fried goodness.  *shrug*  beats me!

This brings me to Thanksgiving day when my friend’s mother told me about a new show she’s hooked on — The Chew on ABC.  She told me that I had to watch it — so that evening, I went home, searched for it and set it to record.  I know I switched topics, but you’ll see, it will come round full circle, I promise.  Anyways, my first episode of The Chew was this Monday.  I got home from work, turned on The Chew and made myself comfortable.  Guess what the first recipe was — Fried Risotto Balls!!!!!!!!!!  I think I must have rewound it 3 times just to make sure that my eyes weren’t deceiving me.  Chef Michael Symon was making this dish he called “Arancini” — to me they looked just like the ones that Mixers makes — I’m so excited!

The recipe seems easy enough and this weekend I think I just may try and make them.  Basically it’s left over risotto, and egg, Parmesan cheese, seasoning, and breadcrumbs.  Mix the risotto with the egg, cheese and seasoning – scoop up a little ball worth, cover it with breadcrumbs and place it in the fryer.  I’m sure you can probably bake them some how, but why would you do that when you have access to a fryer?  So excited!  I may be over-simplifying the recipe, but it looked easy enough to me.

Here’s Chef Symon’s recipe:

Step 1 – make risotto (you can get his recipe here from The Chew’s)

Step 2:   When the rice mixture is cool, remove it from the refrigerator and add the 1 egg, 1 egg yolk, 1 cup Parmesan, and ½ teaspoon of salt. With damp hands, form balls of about 2 tablespoons of rice mixture. With your thumb, make an indentation in the center and place about 1 teaspoon of the diced mozzarella in the center (you’ll use about 8 oz of mozzarella for the entire recipe). Close up the indentation by reforming the rice around the mozzarella to keep it inside. You should get about 16 arancini. Store in the refrigerator until ready to bread and cook, up to 1 day.

Step 3:   Heat up the oil in your deep fryer to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, coat the arancini in the breadcrumbs, shaking off any excess. You want to bread these immediately before frying them so they don’t get tacky and gummy. Deep fry the arancini for 2 ½ minutes or until very golden brown. Remove from the fryer and lightly season with salt. Serve with your favorite tomato sauce and enjoy!

If you’ve made these — let me know how they came out.  I can’t wait!!

See, told you I’d make it back around :)

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