Score another one for the kids! My son picked an arancini recipe out of a cookbook this summer when it was his turn to make dinner. Turns out, we all love Italian rice balls. Who knew? But really, what could be better than transforming cheese sticks into dinner! I used that basic recipe as a jumping off point. Then I ramped up both the veggie content and the delicious quotient by adding fresh oregano and rosemary (dried herbs work, too) and broccoli. I also subbed burrata for the mozzarella to make a creamy center that’s just what you’re craving when you take a bite into one of these. Make your own breadcrumbs to create an even healthier dish.
Makes 12 1½-inch balls
- 4 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 3/4 cup diced onion
- 1 cup broccoli, finely diced
- 4 tsp. fresh herbs, such as oregano, parsley or rosemary, finely diced
- 1 cup uncooked risotto rice
- 4 cups (32 oz.) vegetable stock
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1½ (8-10 oz.) balls burrata (can substitute fresh mozzarella)
- 3/4 cup dried breadcrumbs (making your own is very easy)
- 2 eggs, beaten
- sunflower oil, for frying
- Heat oil in large cast iron Dutch oven. Add onion, broccoli and herbs. Cook until just soft. Remove veggies and herbs with slotted spoon into small bowl. Set aside.
- Add risotto to Dutch oven and pan roast on medium heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add stock. Bring to a simmer, then simmer for 25 minutes, stirring often, until risotto is soft. Remove from heat. Stir in Parmesan, pepper and vegetable mixture.
- Refrigerate risotto mixture for 3 hours or overnight.
- Remove from fridge, break up risotto and veggies with spoon. Scoop out a large tablespoon of the mixture and form a tight ball of about 1½ inches.
- Make a hole in the ball and push in a teaspoon-sized scoop of burrata, including both the outer and inner portions of the cheese. Close risotto around the cheese and re-form the ball.
- Roll ball in a small bowl with the beaten eggs. Then roll ball in a small bowl with the bread crumbs until it’s well-covered. Place ball on plate or tray.
- Repeat until risotto mixture is all rolled into balls.
- Heat 2 inches sunflower oil in cast iron Dutch oven until drop of water splashed into the oil sizzles. Place 3-4 risotto balls in oil, stirring gently until balls are browned on all sides. Repeat until all balls are fried.
- Plate balls on oven-safe serving dish. Serve warm, reheating in oven if necessary.