Thursday, June 12, 2014

NEW RECIPE: Inside-Out Arancini

© Constantine William Spyrou

A lot of times for me, putting creative twists has included incorporating different cuisines and utilizing a fusion spin on classic dishes. However, what truly makes a dish masterful is if it is a re-conception of a dish while not adding elements of a new cuisine. This what I hope to do today with this recipe: literally inverting an Italian classic, Arancini.

Arancini are appetizers in Italian cuisine. They consist of deep fried balls of risotto with cheese and meat stuffed into the inside. In this recipe, I'll be taking the rice and placing it on the inside of a meatball instead. No deep-frying required because of the already solid outer shell of the baked meatball, this is healthier but interesting spin on this savory Italian appetizer!

Recipe makes 4 Arancini, each capable of serving one person.

For the Rice:

1 1/2 cups cooked rice
1/2 cup fontina cheese, shredded
2 tbsp Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese, shredded
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 cup crushed tomatoes
Salt and pepper to season

For the Meat:

1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground sweet Italian sausage
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup red wine (plus another cup for the roasting tray)
2 tbsp dried rosemary
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried basil
2 tsp toasted fennel seed
1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
Salt and pepper to season
(chicken stock for the roasting tray)


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
1. Combine together all of the ingredients for the rice and set aside. This works great if the rice is still warm so that the cheese can begin to melt and thicken the mixture.
2. Combine together all of the ingredients for the meat mix well. Take about a fourth of the mixture and flatten it out in your hand.
3.  Add a fourth of the rice as a scoop into the center of the meat, then wrap the meat around the rice ball to form a ball shape. Repeat for each meatball to form 4.
4. Place the meatballs into a roasting tray. Add the cup of red wine for the roasting tray, and add chicken stock to cover about a third of the meatball.
5. Cover the roasting tray with tinfoil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the tinfoil and bake for another 15-20 minutes.
6. Serve with your favorite marinara sauce and more Parmigiano cheese as a garnish.

This takes a lot of the classic flavors in an Italian meatball and mixes it with the rich, risotto component of arancini. Balance to the richness of the dish is brought by having tomatoes in each layer to provide much-needed acidity, and steaming the meatballs in wine and chicken stock will just help deepen the flavor and melt the cheese down, creating an amazing experience!

I hope you enjoyed this recipe! Let me know what you think and what you would change. If you make it at home, let me know how it turns out! Enjoy! =) 

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