Wednesday, June 19, 2013

My first attempt at making Arancini

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I had four cups of left over rice and needed something to make with it and after a short search on the internet I decided on arancini.   Arancini is a rice ball filled with something like mozzarella cheese, rolled on bread crumbs and then shallow or deep fried.

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The problem with my choice is that I had some idea what arancini is but I have not only never made it, I have never actually eaten one.  I had no idea what the finished product should be like for flavour, texture or dryness.

The recipe I used came from the Food Network USA, a Giada De Laurentiis recipe.  It is pretty basic, the cooked rice is mixed with beaten eggs, Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs.  You then make a ball of the rice-egg-cheese mixture and stick a small piece of mozzarella in the middle.  This ball is then rolled in bread crumbs and finally fired in oil for about four minutes.  I had a few issues with the recipe beyond not knowing what the consistency of the mix should be like or what the final ball should taste like.

1) I had long grain basmati rice, not arborio rice - I suspect as different as one could get with rice.
2) I had panko bread crumbs, not Italian bread crumbs.

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Using the basmati and panko made me think the mixture was a bit dry, I added an extra egg and it seemed to have a good consistency to form the balls.  I used a disher to make balls about the size of a small prune plum.   Getting in the mozzarella was easy enough and I could see how if I made slightly larger ones I could add a more liquid filling such as a thick bolognese

I suspect my use of the basmati also changed the texture of the finished rice ball but since I have never eaten an arancini I have no way to know how it was different.

The first set of arancini I put into the frying pan almost fell apart because I tried to roll them too soon,   The egg and cheese in the ball need sometime to cook to make the ball solid enough to roll around.  The panko bread crumbs are not nearly as fine as what I think Italian bread crumbs are like, they also do not have Italian seasonings.   It meant my arancini had a much rougher exterior than the ones pictured above.

In the end I had something that did look like an arancini.   The basmati and extra egg will obviously made for a different texture, the interior was almost eggy,   The whole thing was drier than I would have liked, but not at all horrible and they held up well being eaten with the marinara sauce I made.   I did make one error that I could have avoided, I under seasoned them.

I will try doing them again though I will try with a short grain rice.   I may make my own Italian bread crumbs though I think panko works well enough and I just need to add some Italian herbs to the mix.
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