I used to live in Sicily, and these were a favorite of mine! 'Arancini' means 'Little Oranges' in Italian, named so because the little breaded rice balls resemble small oranges so much. While so many versions include only cheeses and meats, this version is a delightful combination of white cheese and spinach. We love it! This can be made the night or a couple of days ahead of time, and cooked at the last minute for a surprising treat for guests. I like to serve mine on a bed of fresh Radicchio. Some people enjoy dipping them into Marinara or sour cream based dips. Enjoy!

NM Dawn
prep:
45 mins
cook:
40 mins
total:
5 hrs 25 mins
stand:
4 hrs
Servings:
10
Max Servings:
10
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Ingredients

Directions

  • Bring 4 cups chicken broth and saffron threads to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Stir in Arborio rice, return to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the rice is tender, yet still a little firm, about 16 minutes.

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  • Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in onion, and cook for one minute, then stir in garlic, and continue cooking until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in wine, spinach, and butter, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and fold in cooked rice and Parmesan cheese; cook a few minutes until the mixture is a little stiff. Spread onto a baking sheet, and cool in the refrigerator until completely cold, 4 hours to overnight.

  • Once the rice mixture has cooled, form the arancini by enclosing a cube of mozzarella cheese in about 3 tablespoons of the rice to form a 1 inch ball; set aside. When you have finished making the balls, place flour, eggs, and bread crumbs into separate, shallow bowls. One-by-one, gently roll the arancini in the flour to coat, then shake off excess. Dip into beaten egg, then roll in bread crumbs; set aside.

  • Heat the oil in a deep-fryer or electric skillet to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

  • Deep fry the arancini 5 or 6 at a time in the hot oil until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Be sure to roll the arancini around with a metal spoon as they cook so they are evenly browned on all sides. Drain on paper towels, and serve hot.

Editor's Note

The nutrition data for this recipe includes information for the full amount of the breading ingredients. The actual amount consumed will vary. We have determined the nutritional value of oil for frying based on a retention value of 10% after cooking. The exact amount may vary depending on cook time and temperature, ingredient density, and the specific type of oil used.

Tip

Aluminum foil helps keep food moist, ensures it cooks evenly, keeps leftovers fresh, and makes clean-up easy.

Nutrition Facts

617.36 calories; 21.18 g protein; 66.41 g carbohydrates; 2.57 g dietary-fiber; 2.66 g sugars; 27.2 g fat; 8.94 g saturated-fat; 71.26 mg cholesterol; 904.49 IU vitamin-a-iu; 7.02 mg niacin-equivalents; 0.14 mg vitamin-b6; 3.46 mg vitamin-c; 96.68 mcg folate; 409.52 mg calcium; 3.64 mg iron; 37.87 mg magnesium; 205.83 mg potassium; 861.39 mg sodium; 0.26 mg thiamin; 244.81 calories-from-fat; 43 percent-of-calories-from-carbs; 39 percent-of-calories-from-fat; 13 percent-of-calories-from-protein; 13 percent-of-calories-from-sat-fat


Reviews (16)

Read All Reviews

Most helpful positive review

mommymeggy
05/27/2010
Rather than fry such a lovely side dish I baked these at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Worked beautifully. These are quite time-consuming and would work well to prepare the "balls" ahead of time then bake when ready -- would be GREAT at for a dinner party. One time-saver: I stuck the rice mixture in the freezer for 10 minutes rather than chilling it overnight.
(27)

Most helpful critical review

Lisa
10/11/2010
These tasted very good but were SO time consuming to make that I probably won't make them again. I agree with another reviewer that the onion stood out too much and so I would probably reduce. I tried to bake them as another reviewer suggested but they did not turn out well for me - the inside cooked but the outside didn't brown up.
(2)
19 Ratings
  • 5 Rating Star 16
  • 4 Rating Star 2
  • 3 Rating Star 1
mommymeggy
05/27/2010
Rather than fry such a lovely side dish I baked these at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Worked beautifully. These are quite time-consuming and would work well to prepare the "balls" ahead of time then bake when ready -- would be GREAT at for a dinner party. One time-saver: I stuck the rice mixture in the freezer for 10 minutes rather than chilling it overnight.
(27)
vanessajbaca
10/15/2007
Deelish! The only things I did differently were to omit the saffron (as I had none on hand) and used extra virgin olive oil for the frying insteead of regular vegetable oil. I probably used more spinach than specified too. But it came out wonderful. These were gobbled up at a drink/appetizer party I had recently. Great recipe so thanks to a fellow Albuquerquean!
(21)
Anonymous
12/03/2007
I made this for a potluck and it was a HIT! I fried them the night before and then reheated them in the oven until warm and served with marinara sauce. Everyone loved them including my picky sister!I might substitute water for the wine next time and I would only use about 1/2 of an onion because the flavors came off pretty strong but it was still yummy.
(18)
Rachel Dennis McEwen
12/09/2008
These are delicious! My husband told me to add this to the favorites list. I used Fontina cheese in the center and mixed chopped ham with the rice I also spread the rice on a cookie sheet in the freezer for 10 minutes instead of the fridge for 4 hours. I will definitely be making these again!
(12)
Mallinda
08/09/2010
While the taste of these was very good they're very labor intensive and took a long time to make. For that reason I probably wouldn't make them again. I used a 1" scoop to help form them scooping up some of the rice mixture pressing the cheese into it then mounding more of the rice mixture onto it. The scoop made it easy to form and unload the balls. Once the balls were formed and rolled the frying went quickly since I was able to fit about 20 at a time in my pan. The recipe yielded 80 for me. I have a lot that I froze and today I found that heating the frozen ones about 15 minutes at 350 degrees got them to just the right temperature.
(9)
Dee Cribb
08/09/2010
For once I followed the recipe exactly & I have to say this was the best risotto I've ever had & I'll make it again. Not the balls though. It wasn't that they were terribly hard to make but once fried the risotto lost all flavor for me & just tasted like fried breadcrumbs. We call that "brown food" around here & neither one of us cares for it. The recipe is excellent easy to follow & a good use for leftover risotto but I'd rather have the risotto as is cuz it ROCKS!
(4)
Anonymous
10/29/2011
Fantastic recipe! I rolled in homemade bread crumbs and then baked. Obviously gave it a different taste but everyone loved it! I will make again!
(2)
Lisa
10/11/2010
These tasted very good but were SO time consuming to make that I probably won't make them again. I agree with another reviewer that the onion stood out too much and so I would probably reduce. I tried to bake them as another reviewer suggested but they did not turn out well for me - the inside cooked but the outside didn't brown up.
(2)
VIVNIDHI
03/10/2010
Used leftover risotto but the technique worked well. Baked instead of frying.
(1)