Trouble With Toast

Great Balls of…Rice? | December 12, 2008

That’s right, Jerry Lee Lewis, eat your heart out.  Balls of risotto kick so much more ass than balls of fire.  Seriously, I may have to make risotto once a week just so I can have these arancini (“little oranges”), which is Italian for “cheese-filled risotto croquettes,” or “fried balls of mind-blowing deliciousness.”

I’ve seen risotto fritters (or some variation thereof) on a number of restaurant menus lately, so naturally I wondered: how hard could they be?  After all, I am a master of risotto.  Please, hold your applause.  Getting risotto to fritter or croquette status can’t be any more difficult than simple breading and frying, right?  Right!  No, really, if you can make risotto, you can make fried risotto.

This recipe is pretty straightforward, and it resulted in a really delicious meal.  You could certainly make the balls a little smaller and serve them as appetizers.  Just as with risotto, these croquettes have endless flavor possibilities; you can use any cheese you like, as long as it melts well (fontina was delicious, but I think mozzarella would have worked nicely, too), and you can sub out the basil for parsley, oregano, or your favorite herb of choice.

My fiance’s face lit up after his first bite, and he said that these risotto croquettes were one of the best things I’ve ever cooked.  If you’re ready for instant adoration and kitchen rock star status, I suggest adding this recipe to your repetoire.

  • 3 cups (approximately) leftover cooked risotto
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 Tbsp heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh basil
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 5 oz  Fontina cheese
  • All-purpose flour for dredging
  • Egg wash: 1 large egg whisked with 2 Tbsp cold water
  • Bread crumbs
  • Vegetable oil for deep-frying (I used canola and peanut)
  • Tomato sauce

In a large bowl, combine the risotto with the Parmesan, cream, herbs, and egg yolk. Season with salt and pepper.

Cut the cheese into 16 cubes. Scoop up about 3 Tbsp of the risotto mixture and pack it around a cube of cheese to make a croquette, a ball the size of a Ping-Pong ball. Repeat to form 16 croquettes.

Put the flour, egg wash, and bread crumbs in 3 separate bowls. Dredge the croquettes in the flour, dip in the egg wash, and roll in the bread crumbs. Chill thoroughly, 2-24 hours (I confess, I couldn’t wait that long–I only chilled for about an hour).

Pour oil into a tall pot to a depth of 5 inches (note: I used my Cool Daddy fryer, and it worked beautifully). Heat the oil over medium-high heat until it registers 375°F on a deep-frying thermometer. Deep-fry the croquettes in batches, without crowding, until they are evenly browned, 4-5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, transfer to paper towels to drain briefly. Serve on a pool of warmed tomato sauce.



Posted in Recipes


  1. They have these at 2 Amy’s and they are amazing. I may even like them better than the pizza.

    Comment by Lemmonex — December 12, 2008 @ 2:34 pm

  2. Oh, and these look awesome…duh.

    Comment by Lemmonex — December 12, 2008 @ 2:36 pm

  3. Thanks, Lem! They were amazing, I’m not ashamed to say.

    Comment by bettyjoan — December 12, 2008 @ 3:21 pm

  4. I love doing little mini risotto balls as canapés. The one’s at 2 Amy’s are really good, but if you ever find yourself in the hinterlands of Old Town, the version at Vermillion is spectacular too.

    Comment by restaurantrefugee — December 12, 2008 @ 5:29 pm

  5. RR, thanks for the tip!

    Comment by bettyjoan — December 13, 2008 @ 2:10 pm

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