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Arancini - Stuffed Rice Balls

From Italian Cooking and Living, October/November 2002

For the risotto:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 5 cups chicken broth, hot
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated

For the ragł and filling:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 pound ground lamb
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 cup canned whole, peeled tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 1/3 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • salt
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 16 small cubes
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • olive oil for frying

Make a basic risotto: In a heavy-bottomed pot, warm olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, and stir until translucent. Add rice, and stir 2 to 3 minutes. Add broth 1 cup at a time, stirring until each cup is fully absorbed. When rice is al dente, remove from heat, and stir in butter and Parmigiano. Spread out on a baking sheet to cool.

Make the ragł: In a skillet, heat extra-virgin olive oil. Add onion and lamb; stir until meat is cooked through and onion is translucent. Deglaze with wine. Add tomatoes and peas; cook until ragł reaches a dense texture. Add salt to taste.

Make the rice balls: With wet hands, form 16 balls of risotto. Poke a hole in each ball with your thumb, and make a little space inside. Fill each one with a spoonfull of ragł and a chunk of mozzarella. Seal the opening with another dollop of risotto. Roll each ball in beaten egg, then bread crumbs seasoned with salt and pepper. Warm olive oil over medium-high heat in a heavy-bottomed pot. Deep-fry in batches until golden-brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve immediately. Makes 16

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