Riso Gallo Spinach and Mozzarella Arancini, by Danilo Cortellini
If you were from the western side of Sicily you call them Arancine, but if you were from the eastern part you would call them Arancini. To me it doesn’t really matter as I love them no matter the name.
Crunchy, flavoursome, stuffed rice balls, you could find plenty of versions of this recipe, which differ in stuffing and in shape. Vegetarian, with meat, some even with pistachios, which sounds delicious.
For this particular recipe I went all green and vegetarian, as I chosen to stuff them with spinach and mozzarella. It is a very easy recipe and you can shape them as you please to use them either as starter or smaller as canapé. They are perfect to share if you’re planning a BBQ with friends. Also, if you want to save yourself some time, this recipe can be prepared ahead of time, and can be stored in the freezer.
Chef’s tip: Most risotto grains will work for this recipe, like Carnaroli and Arborio but if you want to be safe, go for the constancy of “risotto rice” by Riso Gallo.
For extra crispiness, swap the common breadcrumbs for Japanese Panko.
Preparation Time: 1 hour
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
250 g of Risotto rice Riso Gallo
250 g of fresh spinach (washed and drained)
1 litre of vegetable stock
20 g of finely chopped onion
150 g of fior di latte mozzarella diced
40 g of grated Grana Padano
25 g of unsalted butter
1 litre of vegetable oil
10 ml of dry white wine
Flour to dust
2 eggs for the egg wash
300 g of breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper to taste
Start by cooking the rice base as if it was a risotto.
In a large casserole, start to roast the rice on a low heat with a pinch of salt, without adding oil or fat. In this way, the heat reaches the core of each rice grain resulting in more uniform al dente rice. Keep stirring the rice, so the rice does not catch on the bottom of the pan or burn. When the rice is very hot, pour the white wine in. Let the alcohol evaporate, set the cooking time to 15 minutes and add the simmering stock a ladle at a time, little by little. Stir the rice occasionally and keep cooking.
While the rice is cooking gently fry the chopped onion in a pan on low heat with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt for about 10 minutes, until well golden. Now add the spinach to the pan and season to taste. Cook for 1 minute and remove from the heat.
When the cooking time of the rice is almost finished, add the spinach and onion to it and stir well. Once the cooking time of the risotto is up, if you’re happy with the texture remove it from the heat, add the butter, the grated Grana Padano cheese and the egg and stir well. Season to taste and let the rice cool down in a large tray.
Once cold, create with your hands rice balls of about 40/50 gr each and remember to put abundant diced mozzarella in the middle of each of them for the extra ooze effect. You can shape them as you please really.
Once all are ready let them set for 30 minutes in the fridge and then roll them gently into the flour. Following the flour, each Arancino should be dipped into the seasoned egg wash and ultimately coated evenly with breadcrumbs.
Now deep fry the rice balls in vegetable oil at 160 degrees, until well golden. Season with a touch of salt, and serve hot with a garnish of baby spinach and crushed avocado.
Recipe by Danilo Cortellini
For more information and recipes from Riso Gallo click here