Photo Credit: Giada Vegas
Arancini is a delicious Italian street food, originating in Sicily. It’s essentially a crispy ball of risotto (a good reason to make leftover risotto on purpose!), sometimes with melty cheese inside. This version of arancini is one of my absolute favorites: pesto arancini.
It’s as simple as mixing flavorful, herbaceous pesto into the risotto mixture before frying. It adds a delicious layer of flavor – I never want to go back to eating plain arancini after trying this variety. As a matter of fact, it’s the type we sell at Giada Vegas (where it’s a huge hit!)
For The Arancini:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup dry white wine
- 3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese, or Scamorza
- 1 cup prepared pesto
For Breading and Serving:
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
- Jarred marinara sauce, for serving, optional
- For the arancini: Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, butter and shallot and cook until the shallot is soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the rice and toast, stirring often to coat the rice in the flavored oil, for 2 more minutes. Season with the salt. Deglaze with the white wine and cook, stirring often, until almost entirely absorbed. Add a cup of the broth and cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid is nearly absorbed. Continue to cook until the rice is just tender and the mixture is creamy, adding more broth by the cup and stirring often, about 35 minutes total.
- Stir in the Parmesan cheese and the pesto. Refrigerate until completely cool.
- For the breading and serving: In a Dutch oven, heat 4 inches of oil to 350 degrees F on a deep-fry thermometer.
- Set up a breading station by placing the flour in one bowl, the eggs in another bowl and the breadcrumbs in a third bowl. Using a 1-ounce scoop, form the risotto into 1 1/2-inch balls. Roll them in the flour first, followed by the eggs and finishing with the breadcrumbs. Fry the arancini until golden brown and warmed through, about 3 minutes. Top with extra Parmesan and serve with marinara on the side for dipping, if desired.