Italian Rice Balls: Cheese, the Language of Love
Updated: May 2, 2020
A Vday preface: René actually ended up ordering us buckets of sushi platter goodness so I wouldn't have to cook, so I kept this surprise meal (of course I cooked anyways I had no clue this beauty was coming my way) for Saturday's dinner, which we enjoyed along with some charcuterie, homemade garlic sauce and spinach salad. Onto the original plan.
It's Valentine's/Galentines. What are your plans? If you answered nothing you're the smart one, save your money! But if you're going to cook for a loved one, something fried and cheesy cannot possibly be a bad idea. Although mine ended up looking like tater tots gremlins rather than gorgeous and round Arancini (I blame my choice of Parm this time around, I have made these a few times and it is my first total failure to get the rice to stick together- it was emotionally draining to say the least). I also forgot to place a cube of mozzarella in the centre so it could melt during the frying session (why am I even posting this!?). So let this be *several* lessons to you and know that, even if the results are not always astonishingly beautiful, they remain delicious. The entire purpose of this blog is to give people meal ideas so you don't end eating the same dishes all the time, I am perfectly okay with certain versions of the recipes not being perfect. If you didn't order pizza after reading this, I win!
You will need,
Arborio rice (1 cup- it is much creamier and dense than regular rice, which is why it is used for risottos and recipes as such)
Parmesan (a much finer consistency than the one I chose today, 1/3 cup)
Salt (1 tbsp)
Black pepper (for taste)
Bread crumbs (as much as needed, fill your plate, just under 2 cups)
Olive oil (I just fill the skillet until about an inch, some recipes say around 2 cups for frying)
Mozzarella cubes to place inside the balls before frying
Ground Parsley (1 tbsp, mix in with cheese preparation)
A few steps,
1. Cook rice according to package instructions (Arborio rice is typically double the water for each cup of rice and covered for about 20 minutes).
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, cheese, salt and pepper. Pour into the rice pot and mix.
3. Let sit for 1 hour. You don't ant to roll burning hot rice and the mixture's consistency will be much more favourable for rolling after setting for a while.
4. While ensuring your bread crumbs are placed and ready, start rolling your rice mixture into 1 inch balls (damp hands help) and coat them with the bread crumbs. Please do not refer to pictures for a ball shape example. Those were cylinders, at most.
5. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, fry rice balls a few at a time (most recipes will instruct you to completely cover the balls in oil, which fries faster and in an even manner, but I personally prefer using less oil and turning the balls a few times).
6. Serve when warm with a dipping sauce, either with a pasta dish or on its own like we did!