Cheesy Rice Balls (Arancini)

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Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil + 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 med onion, finely diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup ham, finely diced (about 3 oz)
  • 2 cups medium grain rice such as Jasmine rice (un-rinsed)
  • 1 cup dry white wine such as Chardonnay
  • 5 cups hot reduced sodium chicken broth/stock
  • 1 tsp salt (we used sea salt)
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • ⅓ cup fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 4 oz mozzarella cheese, cut into 24 (1/2-inch) cubes
For Breading/ Frying:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs, beaten with a fork
  • 1½ cups dry Italian Bread crumbs
  • Oil for frying (vegetable, canola, or grapeseed oil)
Instructions
  1. Using a dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot with tight fitting lid, over medium/high heat, add 2 Tbsp olive oil and 2 Tbsp butter. When hot, stir in diced onion and sautee until soft and golden (4-5 min). Add finely diced ham and cook another 2 min or until golden. Add rice and stir to coat with oil.
  2. Pour in 1 cup white wine and cook until mostly evaporated (2 min). Add 5 cups hot low sodium chicken broth and 1 tsp salt then cover and cook until liquid has been absorbed by the rice (about 15 min). Stir in the peas in, then cover with a tight fitting lid and finish cooking (2 min). Rice should be soft and the liquid mostly absorbed. Spread rice mixture onto a large rimmed baking dish to cool.
  3. Once rice is cooled, stir in ⅓ cup finely chopped parsley and 1 cup parmesan cheese. Form rice balls using a heaping ice cream scoop for each. Stuff each rice ball with a cube of mozzarella cheese and form a tight ball with the rice mixture to enclose the cheese.
  4. Set up 3 shallow bowls, the first one to have 1 cup flour, the second with 3 beaten eggs, the third with 1½ cups bread crumbs. Dredge each rice ball in flour, shaking off the excess, then dip one-by-one in the beaten egg allowing excess egg to drip back into the bowl. Finally, roll balls in breadcrumbs until evenly coated. It’s best to roll and bread all of the rice balls before beginning frying since the frying is quick.
  5. Add an inch of vegetable oil into a deep skillet or pot over medium heat (a pot is nice to reduce splatter). Once oil is hot, add the breaded rice balls in batches without crowding the pot and cook about 3 min total per batch, turning to get all sides golden brown. Transfer to paper towels and serve warm with marinara, or with ranch (as my son prefers), or sans the dip and just enjoy ’em!
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Cheesy Rice Balls (Arancini)

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