Arancini Caprese

in Appetizers, Grains & Rice, Pasta

Over my lunch break, I sat my bike on the trainer (the equipment, not the person) and started pedaling. My husband loves to go cycling and I love him enough to get out of bed and ride for 20 miles in 38-degree weather. Now that’s love. And maybe a little bit of crazy mixed in there, too.

The baker in the house gets all kinds of cooking magazines in the mail so it only caught me slightly off-guard to see Bicycling Magazine show up one day. Flipping through it and trying not to fall off my bike, I ran across a recipe for Prosciutto Arancini. I was scanning the recipe when I realized what a cool idea these were – breaded, fried balls of risotto. Not the kind of recipe I expected to see in that kind of magazine.

We always have leftover risotto. It’s a filling one-bowl meal and no matter how little of it I try to make, we always have extra. Day-after risotto is… not really risotto anymore. It can actually get a little gross. The stuff on the bottom corners of the leftover container congeals into a solid, gummy mass. What does manage to stay recognizable as risotto just doesn’t reheat well. One quad-killing lunch break on a bike and my leftover risotto problems were forever solved. And one of the appetizers for Christmas dinner was selected.

Arancini (Fried Risotto/Rice Balls)

Breathe new life into risotto leftovers with arancini.


  • Canola oil (enough to fill a small sauce pan 2-2.5 inches)
  • Fresh mozzarella
  • Cold leftover Risotto Caprese (recipe follows)
  • Bread crumbs (I used 1.5 slices of whole grain bread, processed to fine crumb)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Marinara
  • For the Risotto Caprese:
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp buttermilk
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 cup shredded fresh mozzarella
  • 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan
  • 2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar


  1. To make the risotto: Melt the butter in a large pan. Saute the shallots and garlic until the shallots are tender and translucent.
  2. Add the rice, wine, 3/4 cup chicken broth and stir.
  3. When the risotto has absorbed nearly all the broth, add 3/4 cup chicken broth. Stir frequently and continue adding the chicken broth 3/4 cup at a time.
  4. In a small sauce pan, reduce the balsamic vinegar over medium-low heat until thick and syrupy.
  5. At the last addition of chicken broth, add the tomatoes. Do not let the last addition of chicken broth absorb completely - this is the key to keeping it creamy.
  6. Add the cheese and basil, stir well, and serve with a drizzle of the balsamic reduction. Refrigerate leftovers for arancini.
  7. Heat oil in a small sauce pan to 375.
  8. Cube the mozzarella into 1/2-inch cubes. Scoop the leftover (cold) risotto into a ball. I used a #20 scoop (approx 2 Tbsp).
  9. While still in the scoop, press one cube of mozzarella into the risotto and re-scoop to seal the cheese inside the ball.
  10. Place breadcrumbs and salt in a shallow bowl.
  11. Roll risotto balls in breadcrumbs and drop carefully into the hot oil. Fry each batch for 1.5-2 minutes, until golden brown.
  12. Serve with marinara.


Yields: 3 arancini per serving, servings dependent on leftovers

Arancini inspired by Bicycling Magazine, Risotto from Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 45 minutes

6 comments… add one
  • AWESOME idea and such a fun place to find a recipe (of all places!)

  • This is perfect because I have a problem cutting risotto recipes in half, but we can’t eat that much risotto!

  • I love arancini. I tried to make them once with mushroom risotto stuffed with mushrooms. I did it without a recipe and while the risotto was still warm from making it and they fell completely apart (although they still tasted pretty good). Waiting until the next day to make them is a much better idea!

  • What a great idea! I will have to save a little risotto next time I make some. I bet these tasted delicious!

  • Yum! This looks so good! Great recipe!

  • Arancini is a great way to enjoy leftover risotto!

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