Arancini (Italian Rice Balls)

Friday, May 21, 2010

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I hate wasting food. I feel that one of the biggest problems in this country is the amount of food waste we generate as a people.  There are countries in this world that don't have enough, and yet, we have oversized portions and massive amounts of waste.  One thing I like to do is use my leftovers in another meal or snack.  Arancini, which are Italian Rice Balls, are a great use up for leftover rice.  They make the perfect snack, appetizer, or light lunch.  I serve them plain or with ketchup.  Daniel LOVES Them.  My version of Arancini is not traditional by any means, but it sure is delicious!  The great thing about these too is that they can be easily frozen.  Traditional Arancini are deep fried, I oven fry mine.  

Elizabeth's Version of Arancini (Italian Rice Balls)

  • 1-2 cups cooked brown rice (you can use white rice too if you have that)
  • 2 large eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1-2 cups bread crumbs - divided
  • 1 cup pureed sweet potato, squash, or cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese or italian cheese blend, shredded
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 tbsp. italian herbs
  • 1 tsp. granulated garlic or garlic powder
  • 6 slices turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled (I just microwave it between two paper towels for one minute per slice).
  • 4-6 tbsp. melted butter or olive oil
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray generously with cooking spray.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except 1/2 cup of the parmesan, half of the bread crumbs, and the butter or olive oil, until it comes together and is "dry."  If the mixture sticks together then you have the right consistency.  If the mixture is too wet, add more bread crumbs.  

In a shallow dish, mix the rest of the bread crumbs and the parmesan.  With wet hands, form the rice mixture into balls the size of a ping pong ball. 

 Coat with the bread crumb mixture and place on the cookie sheet. 

 Drizzle each ball with a little butter or olive oil, this will help the balls crisp in the oven.   Bake in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes or until slightly browned.  Broil on high for another 3-5 minutes until well browned - be sure to watch it because they can burn quickly under the broiler!Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly, about ten minutes before serving.  

To freeze these, bake and broil them as indicated.  Allow to cool completely.  Place on a clean cookie sheet lined with parchment or wax paper.  Place in the freezer for 2-3 hours until fully frozen.  Once frozen, place in Foodsaver bag or Ziplock freezer bags.  To reheat, remove from freezer bag, line on a cookie sheet, and bake for 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees until heated through.  

Until next time, happy and HEALTHY cooking!


Terese said...

Very nice!! Your Italian grandmother would be so proud, as is your Italian auntie(me!) They look scrumptious. Ketchup is always a great condiment, but these would be good with plum jam too, I think.

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