Classic Arancini Rice Balls are filled with a meat, cheese, peas combination that is cooked in a delicious tomato sauce. They are then fried to create a golden, crunchy outer layer – it’s the absolute ultimate in Italian cooking.
With all the cooking and baking that has been going on in my house hold these last few days, it would be an absolute sin to not share this all time family favourite – Classic Arancini Rice Balls. It’s a tradition in my family to make these for almost every special occasion. Whether it’s a family gathering or party, arancini are appreciated by all – young and old.
In fact, in our family, you can sense the disappointment if they’re not on the table at Christmas time or served at the New Year family gathering. My family have come to expect them and they LOVE them. Rarely are there any leftovers when it comes to these arancini.
The arancini rice balls are a great recipe to make in bulk and freeze for later. This recipe is the exact quantity I would normally make for my large family on Christmas day. It yields approx. 16 balls.
For this recipe
Today, I used the arancinotto rice ball shaper which creates a traditional conical or pear-shaped arancini. You can, however, easily use your hands to create an oval or round shape arancini.
As you can see, arancini are gooey on the inside, crunchy on the outside with a filling of meat sauce, peas and mozzarella.
And so, as Party season is here Christmas, New Year, I urge you to try to this recipe. I know they’ll be a winner
To make the recipe as clear as possible, I’ve broken it down into segments. That is, the ingredients needed for the rice, then I’ve listed the next set of ingredients needed to make the filling. Once you have the rice and meat filling mixture prepared, you are ready to assemble the arancini balls together.
For the rice you will need:
- Arborio or medium grain rice – boiled
- Parmesan cheese – grated
- Eggs – whole and fresh
- Garlic – chopped
- Parsley – finely chopped
For the meat and pea filling you will need:
- Beef and pork mince – this recipe calls for half of each
- Canned tomatoes – whole or chopped canned tomatoes are fine
- Peas – fresh or frozen
- Garlic – chopped
- Olive oil – used to fry off the onions, garlic and meat
- Basil – Fresh and chopped
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS:
Place the olive oil in a pan, add the onions and garlic and sauté for 3-4 minutes
Add the beef and pork mince to the pan and cook until lightly browned.
Place the canned tomatoes and peas into the meat together with the chopped basil and cook for a further 10 minutes. The allow to completely cool.
TIP: For fasting cooling time, sit the pot near a ventilated window and stir occasionally to assist the cooling process.
Place the cooled rice in a large bowl. To it you will add the eggs, parmesan cheese, garlic and parsley then season with salt and pepper. Using your hands, mix the ingredients together to create a sticky, rice mixture.
Shape the arancini into balls. As you can see I’ve used the aranciotto shaper (which I highly recommend), however you can create perfectly shaped round arancini balls. All you need to do is place an ice-cream scoop of rice into one hand. Flatten the rice in the palms of your hand. Ensure you hands are clean and rubbed with some olive oil. This will make the rice stick together and keep its shape. Place a teaspoon of the meat and pea mixture onto the rice. then taking another scoop of rice, place it on top of the layers and begin to close the filling, covering it with rice.
Using your hands to ensure the shape comes together and that the filling is well encased with rice.
Place the arancini balls into the breadcrumbs, rolling them to ensure that the whole arancini is coated in the crumbs.
Then place the arancini in a tray lined with parchment paper and refrigerate until it’s time to fry.
Deep fry in enough oil so that the arancini are covered and cook evenly.
ARANCINI TIPS & HINTS:
- The recipe has a few steps. When making for the first time, gather the ingredients and keep on hand. This will ensure you have everything you need as you follow the steps.
- Start with boiling the rice. The quantity of rice is large so it will require some time to cool. Whilst the rice is cooling, you can begin making the meat and pea filling.
- Don’t overfill the arancini. This will ensure that the mixture remains encased in the rice when frying.
- If you don’t like the idea of frying foods, these can be baked however the arancini will not be crispy on the outside. To bake, place in a 200C/390F pre-heated and baked for oven for 30-40 minutes or until the arancini are browned.
- If you are making these ahead of time, refrigerate overnight in a tray covered with cling wrap.
- Arancini keep well frozen. Simply defrost approx. 1 hour before cooking. Cook per recipe.
If you are looking for more Italian inspired recipes – feel free to check out my Marinated Zucchini Summer Recipe!
Planning on making this recipe? Be sure to take a photo and hashtag it #SUNDAYCALM I’d love it if you share it.
Classic Arancini Recipe
For the Rice Ingredients you will need
- 4 cups rice arborio rice or medium grain rice
- 1 1/2 cups parmesan cheese grated
- 200 g mozzarella cheese shredded or cubed
- 2 eggs
- 1 clove garlic chopped
- 1 bunch Italian parsley chopped
- salt and pepper
For the meat filling you will need
- 100 g beef mince
- 100 g pork mince
- 400 g peeled tomotoes canned
- 1/2 cup peas
- 1 onion chopped
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 clove garlic chopped
- 4-5 leaves basil chopped
- salt and pepper
- 2 cups bread crumbs
- sunflower oil for frying
For the rice
- In a large pot of boiling, salted water, add the rice and boil approximately 15-20 minutes or until cooked but firm. Strain and allow to cool completely.
- In a fry pan with olive oil, add the onion and 1 garlic clove chopped. Sauté for 3-4 minutes on low medium until the onions are translucent.
- Place the beef and pork mince with the onions and garlic and cook until browned. Using a wooden spoon loosen and beak up the mince in the pan to ensure mince in separated.
- Add the tomatoes and peas to the beef and cooked for 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cool.
- Once the rice is all cooled, place in a large mixing bowl and add to it, the parmesan cheese, chopped parsley, eggs, chopped garlic and mix well using your hands.
- If using the arancinotto arancini rice ball shaper - follow the method on the box.
- To create an arancini ball with your hands rub some olive oil into the palm of your hands.
- Using an ice-cream scoop, place a scoop of rice in the palm of your hand then flatten the rice.
- Take a teaspoon of the meat and peas mixture and place in the rice, then add teaspoon of mozzarella cheese in the centre of the rice.
- Add a further scoop of rice on top of the mixture to encase the meat, peas and mozzarella. Using your hands, firmly shape into a ball to ensure all the ingredients are covered in the rice.
- Place the arancini balls into a shallow plate of bread crumbs then roll and shape with your hands.