In the hope that I might lure Inspettore Montalbano Italian Crime Series to my place for lunch, I make these more often than I should. Believe it or not…there’s even an episode named after them Gli Arancini Di Montalbano 1999.
So..what do you do with that little bit of left over pasta sauce??? Make arancini, of course.
Whether it’s a bit of Bolognese, or sugo Napoletano (Napoli Sauce), you can transform your left-overs into another meal.
Just add some mozzarella cheese and frozen peas to the sauce, and spoon into ice-cube trays. Freeze.
You will need:
For the filling:
1/2 cup pasta sauce, approximately
1/2 cup grated or cubed mozzarella
handful of frozen peas
For the rice:
1 1/2 cups medium grain rice
2 1/4 cups stock or water with stock cubes
3/4- 1 cup grated parmesan (grana padano)
1/2 cup passata (tomato puree) or substitute this with a sweet vegetable such as mashed pumpkin or sweet potato.
1 cup breadcrumbs
Oil for frying **
To make the arancini, cook your rice, slightly aldente, using the absorption method. Add either a stock cube, or some of your own home made stock. (If using cubes, steer clear of ones containing artificial flavors etc as their flavors can be overbearing. I prefer the Massel chicken stock cubes as they are free from artificial additives etc etc.) There is no need for additional salt, as the addition of Parmesan cheese later will season the rice adequately.
Place the rice in a large bowl and allow to cool slightly. Add the cheese, passata and egg. Combine thoroughly. If the rice is too gooey, add some breadcrumbs to the mixture. It should be easy to mould, but not so runny that you cant shape it.
Remove the frozen arancini cubes from your freezer. Wet your hands with a little water. Scoop a small handful of the rice mixture into your hand. Push a frozen cube into the center of the ball of rice. Roll the rice ball between your hands, making sure that the frozen cube is totally encapsulated in a layer of rice. If you leave any part of it exposed, or with only a thin cover of rice, it will rupture during cooking, and you will end up with a spluttering pot of oil.
Roll the rice ball in breadcrumbs and set aside. You will need to allow at least 30 minutes for the filling to thaw before cooking. Doing so ensures that the mozzarella filling melts during the frying process (gooey deliciousness).
Deep fry on a medium heat for 5-6 minutes. Drain on absorbent paper towel. Serve.
** When deep frying, I usually use a combination of either sunflower or rice bran oil, together with refined olive oil (ie NOT cold pressed or virgin olive oil as this has a low boiling temperature).