We’re not sure about you, but we don’t deep-fry anything. Too messy, and too much trouble. We do pan-fry foods occasionally (Fried Okra, for example), but to fill up a Dutch oven with a gallon of oil, fry enough for two, then do something with the oil afterwards, nope. That’s not for us. Fortunately, you can almost always bake some of those things you’d deep-fry, instead. Yes, we know, they really aren’t the same, and we agree, but, if the choice is between baked or nothing, we’ll, we don’t scratch our heads thinking about that one.
We don’t know how often you make risotto, but we make it a lot. And, most times, we eat it up the same night we make it; occasionally, though, we have a bit left over. Now, risotto doesn’t rewarm well, at least not as risotto — it tends to get gummy. But, you can turn that leftover risotto into Baked Arancini, instead. It’s really easy to scratch up, and one of the best ways to use leftover risotto.
We wouldn’t make risotto just for arancini. Risotto is simply too tasty on its own. Instead, keep this in mind and wait until you have some risotto left over, and make these as an appetizer the next day. Of course, use the best eggs you can, ideally the kind that come from happy healthy hens; that way, you get the best eggs possible, and the hens are well taken care of.
We mention seasoning both the bread crumbs and the risotto; we didn’t, but we could see adding a bit of garlic powder to the crumbs, and maybe some basil to the risotto; pretty much whatever you like will work.
Procedure in detail:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat, preferred, or parchment. We think the silicone baking mat will insulate the bottom of the arancini, so they’ll bake evenly.
Mix in egg. Place the leftover risotto in a medium bowl and gently stir in the egg. Gentle stirring will help keep the rice grains intact, and not turn your mixture into mush. If it seems too moist, feel free to add some bread crumbs; ours was fine, and would hold its shape when formed into balls. Season your risotto, if desired.
Prepare. Place the bread crumbs in a shallow bowl, season as desired, and prepare to make arancini. Here’s the trick: shape with one hand and apply bread crumbs with the other. If you start switching hands, or using both for shaping or applying bread crumbs, you’ll have a mess — both hands sticky and gummy — it’ll be horrible. So, set up your station with the risotto and egg next to the bread crumbs and the prepared baking sheet next to that.
Shape and coat. Scoop out about a tablespoon of risotto, and, using your left hand, shape it into a ball about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Gently place it on top of the bread crumbs. With your right hand, scoop up bread crumbs and coat the top of the arancini, and , still using your right hand, gently roll it around to coat the sides. Finally, gently lift and place the arancini on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining risotto.
Bake. Into the oven for 30 minutes, or until the outer coating has crisped slightly, the risotto is heated through, and has firmed up because the egg cooked. Serve immediately with a dipping sauce, if desired.
Fast and easy. Plus, it seems as if you’re having something that you’d only get in a fancy or expensive restaurant. All made from a bit of leftovers. We had these for lunch and liked the fact that the coating got slightly crispy, while the risotto stayed creamy inside. And, how can you go wrong with a nice way to reheat risotto? An easy four.