You want to know how you can take arancini up a notch? Fill them with goats cheese, then dip them in a spicy tomato and red pepper dipping sauce. I guarantee that your guests will just want to keep coming back for more.
There couldn’t possibly be a better way to use up leftover risotto. Oh, and if you need a risotto recipe to make for these arancini balls, then use my Herby Risotto Recipe. Don’t worry about the pan seared duck if it doesn’t interest you, as it isn’t relevant to this recipe.
The cheesy middle
Usually, arancini has a bit of fresh mozzarella in the middle, so when you open it up you can see that stringy cheese. Why did I use goats cheese instead this time? Honestly, there is no reason other than I wanted to try something different.
Mozzarella gives and nice melty, stringy texture inside, whereas goats cheese is more creamy and soft. Feel free to experiment with whatever cheese you want, however, just know that a little goes a long way. 1 little teaspoons worth is more than enough.
And if you really don’t like the idea of adding the cheese and the risotto filling is enough for you, this is totally fine.
Double coating the rice balls
The first time I made this dish, some of the rice oozed out of the arancini. And for the best arancini ball, you want the rice and cheese filling to be nicely sealed in. The way to do this is to simply double coat your arancini balls when you panee them (coat them in flour, egg and breadcrumbs).
So you would dip the rice balls in flour, then in the egg, then in the breadcrumbs, back in the egg again and then coat in the second layer of breadcrumbs. You don’t have to give the arancini balls the second coating. It just means some of the filling might break out of a few of the arancini balls if you don’t, but it isn’t a huge deal in my opinion.
Using leftover dipping sauce
Now this recipe calls for quite a bit of dipping sauce, but if you are a constant dunker (like me) then you may be surprised by just how fast the dipping sauce can disappear. So I think it’s worth making plenty.
However, what do you do if you have a lot of leftover dipping sauce? You could just keep it in the fridge if you think you’ll use it again. Or, you can use it to coat your pasta!! And it works perfectly because the dipping sauce has a saucy texture more so that a paste-like texture.
Freezing and re-heating the arancini balls
So, I tested this out. I froze an arancini ball, I took it out of the freezer a few days later, pre-heated my oven to about 200 degrees C, then I reheated the arancini ball in the oven for 20 minutes. It actually turned out really well! Now, arancini balls are always going to be their best when they are served right after being deep fried, but if you have leftovers, this is the best way to keep them and re-heat them.
If you care about retaining as much quality as possible, avoid re-heating your arancini balls in the microwave. Re-heating deep-fried products in a microwave will just make them go soggy. Also, try not to leave the arancini balls out of the freezer for too long before re-heating them, because the water content can melt over the arancini and again, can make the outside go soggy.
Thank you so much for reading through my post, and I highly encourage you to make these arancini balls. Especially if you have leftover risotto. Feel free to subscribe to stay updated for new posts and to receive a free ebook featuring 10 amazing recipes.
Much love to you all, see you in the next one!
Arancini Balls Recipe with Tomato and Red Pepper Dipping Sauce
Spicy tomato and red pepper dipping sauce (optional)
- 1 tin 400g of plum tomatoes
- 200 g of jarred/tinned roasted red peppers
- 1 red chili roughly chopped
- 2 teaspoons of tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves peeled and roughly chopped
- Salt and pepper for seasoning
- A bunch of fresh basil leaves shredded
Dipping sauce (optional)
- Put the tinned tomatoes, red peppers, red chili, tomato paste, olive oil, garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper in a blender. Blend for 1-2 minutes until smooth then transfer to a pot.
- Alternatively, if you don't have a blender, you could just put all the ingredients in the pot and use a hand blender instead.
- Bring to the boil on high heat on the stove. Once the sauce is boiling, turn the heat down low and gently simmer the sauce for 25-30 minutes stirring occasionally until it the sauce has thickened. I recommend half covering the pot with a lid because the sauce can splatter a fair bit while simmering. Turn the heat off, stir your basil leaves through the sauce then set aside.
- Put the risotto in a bowl.
- Get one of your eggs, then separate the yolk from the white. Add the yolk to the risotto mixture and the white in a separate bowl. Mix the yolk through the risotto.
- Get a bowl of water, then lightly wet your hands.
- Get a golf ball sized piece of risotto rice in your hand, then push a small dent in it with your finger. Fill it with a small bit of the goats cheese, then mould the risotto rice around the cheese into a ball.
- Do the same with the rest of the risotto and set aside.
- Crack the other 2 eggs in the bowl with the egg white, add a pinch of salt and pepper then whisk well with a fork. Put your seasoned flour on one plate, and your seasoned breadcrumbs on another plate.
- Roll some of your rice balls on plate with the flour making sure they are all coated. Shake off the excess flour then dip them in the bowl with the egg. Finally, transfer to the bowl with the breadcrumbs and coat well. Once all of your rice balls are coated, put them on a plate, then put in the fridge to firm up.
- Put enough oil in a pot to deep fry, then get it on the stove on high flame. Pre-heat for about 8-10 minutes. You can test to see if the oil is hot enough by adding a peice of bread, if it is floating and bubbling you are ready to start frying the Arancini. Get some kitchen paper ready. From there just turn the heat down to about medium flame.
- Carefully submerge the rice balls in the oil about 4-5 at a time, making sure you don't overcrowd the pot. Fry them for about 2-3 minutes until they go golden brown.
- Transfer your rice balls on the kitchen paper to drain.
- Let them cool for a bit, re-heat the dipping sauce then they are ready to eat. Enjoy!
- Serve the arancini as soon as you can after you deep fry them
- Experiment with different cheeses.
- Double coat your rice balls in your breadcrumbs to firmly seal the filling in.
- Use the leftover dipping sauce to coat pasta.
- If you have any leftover arancini, freeze it. To heat it back up, put in a hot, preheated oven for 20-30 minutes.