Makes 12 servings
Arancini, or plini, are made from leftover rice made the previous day, which is why we mention in the instructions that you should cook the rice a little longer than usual. That means the rice will be sticky enough to stay together and hold the filling once it is deep-fried. You may use any type of filling; in this case we use a beef ragù, not too wet, but alternatively you may sauté some chicken livers, deglaze the pan with Marsala, and chop them for a filling. Or, you can keep it very simple and just fill the rice balls with a good creamy cheese like mozzarella, and that’s it.
- Olive oil as needed, for frying
- 7 cups Brodo or Chicken Broth, or as needed
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup minced yellow onion
- 2 1/4 cups Carnaroli or Vialone Nano rice
- 3/4 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup grated Parmigiano- Reggiano (4 oz)
- Kosher salt, as needed
- Freshly ground black pepper, as needed
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 cups all-purpose or “00” flour
- 4 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons water
- 4 cups plain dry bread crumbs
- 12 oz mozzarella, small dice
- 1 cup Meat Ragù drained of excess liquid, or chicken livers (see headnote above)
- Preheat the olive oil in a deep-fryer or large heavy-bottomed pot to 375°F.
- Heat the brodo over low heat; keep warm.
- Heat the oil and butter in a large pot over low heat. Add the onion and sweat until tender (there should be no color in the onion), about 5 minutes. Add the rice and toast lightly without letting the rice or onion take on any color. Add the wine and cook until almost dry. Add some of the brodo a little at a time, enough to come 1/2-inch above rice, making sure the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom. Add more broth as it is absorbed. Cook the rice a little longer than usual so that it is thick and quite sticky, about 25 minutes.
- Once the rice has absorbed almost all the broth and it is well cooked and quite dry, remove from the heat. Add the Parmigiano-Reggiano and stir vigorously. Let it cool slightly, then taste, season with salt and pepper, and incorporate the egg yolk, combining it well.
- Set up the breading ingredients: Put about 1 cup of flour in a shallow bowl. Beat 2 of the eggs together with the 2 tablespoons water in a second bowl. Put 1 cup of the bread crumbs in a third bowl. You may need to add more to each of the bowls in order to bread all of the arancini.
- Form little balls of rice (about 1 inch in diameter for snacks or 2 inches to serve as an appetizer). Using your finger, poke a hole in the center of each ball and insert 1 piece of mozzarella and some of the meat. Pinch the rice back into shape to enclose the filling in the ball. Dip the rice balls into the flour, then the egg wash, and finally the bread crumbs.
- Fry the risotto balls until they are golden and crisp on the outside and heated through, about 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels and serve hot.