It’s always always fun to make food that tastes so shockingly different from how it looks. That is the case with this citrus arancine dish. When you look at the little balls of fried something you think they might be heavy and maybe oily. You definitely couldn’t eat more than say five.
When you bite into the first arancine though the first thing you will do is look at how many are left and calculate how many you can score before you are labeled a complete pig. Because of the citrus zest, these guys are light and refreshing.
Citrus arancine is a definite win.
Arancine (or arancini according to Wikipedia. I’ll stick with Bon Appétit’s spelling) is normally made with leftover risotto which makes for a great quick appetizer. This dish however calls for fresh risotto. For the life of me I don’t really know why. I think the only reason why is because citrus risotto is not something that you would maybe want by the bowl.
Frankly though, I would eat this stuff by the bowl without a problem. So my advice is to make double, eat it as a side dish one night, and then make arancine the next day.
Yield: About 30.
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 Cup shallot, finely diced (you can substitute white onion)
1.5 Cups arborio rice
1 Teaspoon salt
3/4 Cup white wine
6 Cups low-salt chicken or vegetable broth (You may not use all of it. I always error on having too much rather than not enough.)
1 Teaspoon ground fennel seed (freshly ground is best if you can)
1 orange, zest only
1 lemon, zest only
1 lime, zest only
30 1/2-inch cubes (about 6 ounces) of young sheep's milk cheese like Brinata. I think you could substitute a wide variety of cheeses here.
3 large eggs
1/4 Cup whole milk
3 Cups panko breadcrumbs
6 Cups vegetable oil for frying
Deep Fry/Candy Thermometer
1) Pour in a quart of stock and add one carrot, a few celery stalks, a whole head of garlic chopped in half, and one onion. Roughly chop everything. Then add a pinch of salt, some parsley, and about 20 peppercorns, plus about 2 or three cups of water. Let that simmer for about 30 minutes and then strain it.
2) While the stock simmers you can get some other ingredients ready like you shallots and the citrus zest.
3) Add the butter, olive oil, and shallots into a large pot. Stir on medium-high heat until the shallots are translucent.
4) Add the rice and salt. Stir rice for 3 minutes or so.
5) Add the white wine all at once and stir until it is all absorbed.
6) Ladle in 1/2 Cup of stock at a time into the rice mixture. Stir it until the stock is all absorbed (about 3 minutes), then add another 1/2 Cup of stock. Repeat this until the rice is nice and creamy. This whole process should take 30 minutes.
7) Stir in the fennel seed and all of the citrus zest.
8) Spread the risotto on a sheet pan and stick it in the fridge. Test for salt! It will cool down in about thirty minutes.
9) Whisking together the eggs and milk and putting the breadcrumbs in a bowl.
10) Cube up the cheese.
11) Once the risotto is cooled, take a big Tablespoon of risotto and place a piece of cheese right in the center. Form a ball and dip it in the egg mixture followed by the breadcrumbs.
12) Line up all the arancine on a sheet pan!
13) Refrigerate for another 30 minutes (and have a mojito).
14) Heat up the oil at about 350 and drop them in five or six at a time depending on the size of the pan. They should take about 5 minutes to fry up and be golden brown delicious.
15) Drain on a paper towel and let them cool for a few minutes before devouring them.
Adapted from Sept. 2009 Bon Appetit.
Risotto is just rice. Well, plus some onion and butter, but really it is just rice. The only real flavor in a risotto dish comes from add-ins (like mushrooms or in this case citrus) and stock. So it’s pretty important to get a good stock. Ideally, you could make it yourself, but if you just don’t have time you can also enhance store bought stock in about 30 minutes.
Pour in a quart of stock and add one carrot, a few celery stalks, a whole head of garlic chopped in half, and one onion. Roughly chop everything. Then add a pinch of salt, some parsley, and about 20 peppercorns, plus about 2 or three cups of water. Let that simmer for about 30 minutes and then strain it. That will leave you with a much more flavorful stock than you would have otherwise.
While your stock simmers you can get some other ingredients ready like you shallots and your citrus zest.
If you are making the risotto and the arancine the same day, be sure to give yourself plenty of time for the risotto to cool. It’s not really possible to get hot risotto to stay in ball form.
Before starting your risotto, make sure your stock is simmering. It doesn’t have to be boiling hot, but it should be pretty close.
To get your risotto going, add your butter, olive oil, and shallots into a large pot. Stir on medium-high heat until the shallots are translucent. Then add your rice and salt. Stir rice for 3 minutes or so. It will be very dry obviously. The point is to heat up the kernels of rice so they open up and allow in more moisture later.
Then add your white wine all at once and stir until it is all absorbed.
Then comes the hard part. Ladle in 1/2 Cup of stock at a time into the rice mixture. Stir it until the stock is all absorbed (about 3 minutes), then add another 1/2 Cup of stock. Repeat this until the rice is nice and creamy. It should be tender but still have a tiny bite to it. This whole process will take probably 30 minutes.
Your arm will be tired, but it’ll be worth it.
At the very end, stir in your fennel seed and all of your citrus zest. If you want to make the arancine right away, you can spread the risotto on a sheet pan and stick it in the fridge. It will cool down in about thirty minutes.
Very Important Note: Taste your risotto for salt before cooling it down. I forgot to do this and my final arancine was very much lacking in salt. Salt now or pay later!
While the risotto chills, you can prep the stuff for forming the arancine. Prepare your breading station by whisking together your eggs and milk and putting your breadcrumbs in a bowl.
You’ll also need to cube up that cheese.
Now if you are like me, that will only take you about 10 minutes and your risotto will be nowhere near cool.
If you are like me, you’ll notice that you have an entire lime, lemon, and orange leftover from the zesting. These should not just go to waste!
Finally, if you are like me, you like mojitos.
I decided to whip up a few of these for me and my dinner guests while the risotto chilled.
Here’s the basic recipe.
- 1 Tablespoon sugar (Muddle with the mint)
- 5 sprigs fresh mint
- 1-2 ounces white rum (depending on your workload)
- 2 ounces citrus juice (lime, lemon, and/or orange)
- Top with soda water
Sorry. Back on track. These guys are pretty easy to form. Even easier if you can find a helper or two. Take a big Tablespoon of risotto and place a piece of cheese right in the center. Form a ball and dip it in your egg mixture followed by your breadcrumbs.
Then line up all your arancine on a sheet pan!
The recipe in BA says to refrigerate these for six (YES 6) hours before frying them. That seems kind of ridiculous to me. I refrigerated them for another 30 minutes (and had another mojito).
Heat up your oil at about 350 and drop them in five or six at a time depending on the size of your pan. They should take about 5 minutes to fry up and be golden brown delicious.
Drain them on a paper towel and let them cool for a few minutes before devouring them.
These were really tasty. They were very light and refreshing considering that it’s really just fried rice and cheese. As I said, I messed up on the salt thing. Kind of an amateur mistake, but whatever. It took us a few arancine to discover what was missing. One of my friends sprinkled a bit of salt on one and screamed out, “SALT!” Problem solved. Not a problem I usually have though.
Arancine are kind of elaborate to make, but if you have the time and are looking for a good recipe, this one is definitely a keeper.