This recipe for Arancini with Easy Marinara Sauce is sure to be a family favourite! Leftover risotto is cooled, rolled into balls and stuffed with cheese. Then, they are coated in breadcrumbs and gently fried until golden brown. Served with an easy marinara sauce, they make for one delicious, comforting bite!
Arancini are quite possibly the best little bite that you could ever put in your mouth. Arancini are basically made using leftover risotto (is there really such a thing, though, as leftover risotto?), using some additional flavourings like nuts and cheese and binding into a little ball of carby, cheesy, heavenly goodness. Dip those babies into a super easy marinara sauce and your taste buds will be singing as the skies open up and the angels sing.
Ok, ok, maybe I’m being a tad bit dramatic. Totally out of character for me, isn’t it? Yeah, not really, but these arancini are completely addictive. Dangerously so. Since they are bite sized, too, it’s so easy to pop like a dozen in your pie hole and not even bat an eyelash. And it’s basically rice, soooooo they can’t be that bad for you, can they? That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it 😉
Hey everyone! How’s it going? How was your weekend? Finally great to see the weather is warming up a little around here. Nice to get out in the yard prepping for the Summer, which is what hubby and I did this weekend. We have a little garden that we grow herbs, like rosemary, thyme, mint, sage, rhubarb and berries. Last year, we even gave some onions a shot. As a matter of fact, are chives and green onion are already starting to grow. We have an apple tree, but it’s only little so doesn’t yield a lot just yet and what it does yield, by the time we get to pick, some little critter steals it from us. How awesome is it to grow your own food? It’s not much, but it’s so rewarding. Our mint grew like crazy last year. I’m definitely not complaining….hello mojitos!! What’s your favourite herb to use? I honestly can’t pick just one, ’cause I enjoy so many, but if absolutely had to pick one, I’d say…..no I can’t. Ok, maybe tarragon. No, rosemary. Ok, never mind. Do you grow anything in your garden? What do you find works well for you?
Arancini with Leftover Risotto
So, onto the Arancini with Easy Marinara Sauce! I’ve eaten my fair share of arancini in restaurants and I’ve made risotto a bazillion times, but I’ve never made arancini until now. I didn’t know what I had been missing. I seriously couldn’t believe how easy it was. Like, really easy. I’ve probably started something now because I think it’s going to be a regular thing for hubby and I; I think I’m gonna make risotto just to make arancini.
Risotto is most definitely one of my all-time favourite meals. I love it because
- it’s carby cheese goodness
- it can be served as an app or main
- once you have the base down, you can pretty much flavour it however you like.
- it’s a great way to use leftovers (insert song, ‘Save Dat Money’, lol)
How to Make Arancini
For my Arancini with Easy Marinara Sauce I used leftover mushroom risotto. You can find my recipe here. If you want to go straight ahead and make the arancini and not have the risotto as a meal first, I would recommend halving the mushroom risotto recipe to yield enough rice to make the arancini. You can totally use whatever risotto recipe you like, though. I used 3/4 of a cup of bread crumbs in the actual arancini mixture (not including the cup to roll them in). Depending on what type of risotto you use, your moisture level may vary slightly. If you have to use a little more breadcrumbs to bind the mixture to make it more ‘rollable’ then just add a tablespoon or so at a time until the mixture is workable.
Another key point before rolling the mixture into balls is ensuring that your rice is cool. Ain’t nobody able to work with warm rice, y’all 😀 . After forming into the delicious little bites, simply place in the fridge for 45 minutes to an hour and let all the ingredients become friends. When you start to roll ’em, make sure that you use a good melting cheese (like fontina, for example) and the cheese is softened/at room temperature. Since they don’t take long to cook, you want to get a head start on that cheese so you get all that melty goodness that everyone loves. Easy peasy, right?
The arancini have so much going on. Since I used mushroom risotto, these had pieces of mushrooms in there so it added a savoury component and I’m a big fan of mushrooms anyway; they add so much earthy flavour to a dish. There is a creaminess from the arborio rice, of course, but also from the little cube of cheese inserted into the centre of these babies and when you madly rip them open cut into them, the cheese oozes out and you know that’s awesome ’cause who doesn’t like oozing cheese? I mean, really.
Walnuts and bread crumbs add a lovely texture and then the whole thing is dunked into a simple marinara sauce that takes minutes to make. My recipe for Easy Marinara sauce yields about a cup, but if you are a big dunker and love it saucy you can easily just double the recipe for the sauce.
Well, guys, hope you get to try this recipe soon! Have have a lovely week! Chit chat again in a little bit 🙂
Arancini with Easy Marinara Sauce
- 2 cups risotto -leftover & cooled
- 1 3/4 cup bread crumbs -divided
- 1 egg
- 1.5 tbsp parsley -roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup walnuts -chopped
- 1/2 tsp chili flakes -optional
- 75 grams cheese -good melting cheese, like fontina, at room temp.
- vegetable oil -enough to come up about 1 inch or so of pot
Easy Marinara Sauce
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 shallot -minced
- 2 cloves garlic -minced
- 1 cup strained tomatoes -aka tomato sauce
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp chili flakes
- parsley -garnish, optional
- In a large bowl combine risotto, 3/4 cup of bread crumbs, egg, parsley, walnuts and chili. Stir to combine all ingredients. For the remaining 1 cup of breadcrumbs place in a bowl for later use.
- Form mixture into balls. Take about a tablespoon and half or so of the mixture in your hand and place a piece of cheese in the centre. Roll into a ball.
- Roll ball into bowl of breadcrumbs and place on a baking sheet as you continue to make remainder of balls. Should have about 15 balls in total, approximately.
- Place balls uncovered in fridge for about 45 minutes to an hour. Remove. On stovetop in a heavy duty high sided pot heat vegetable oil to 350F. The oil should come up just about an inch up the sides of the pot.
- Working in batches of about 5-6 balls (don't overcrowd pot), cook balls in oil about 4-5 minutes total, turning to brown all sides. Carefully remove balls from oil with slotted spoon. Place on a brown paper lined tray to remove any excess oil.
- Preheat oven to 200F and place balls on a tray to keep warm while you are making the marinara sauce.
Easy Marinara Sauce
- On stovetop in a pot, heat oil on medium low. Add shallot and cook until translucent and softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add garlic to shallot and cook for about 1 minute.
- Add remaining ingredients and simmer for about 5 minutes. Garnish with parsley, if desired. Serve immediately with arancini.