I remember my first taste of Arancini very clearly, even though nine years have already passed by. We were both touring the Romanian city of Venice, Italy. It was getting late and dark and we were both in need of some convenient on-the-go food. I saw these big round deep-fried balls with rice and cheese that looked interesting enough to give a try. It was a really huge ball of rice but I finished it anyway (because it was too delicious)!
Since then, I’ve always thought that the name of this Italian rice ball was ‘Prosciutto’, because that was how it was labelled on the shelf of the restaurant food counter. It was only after a while that I realised Prosciutto actually refers to a type of Italian ham – which means that nine years ago, I’ve actually ordered an Italian rice ball with ham; that Prosciutto describes the flavour of the rice ball I got and not is not its name per se. Took me a long while to find out… don’t laugh!
Having found out the name of this dish got me all excited because I was really keen to replicate the taste of these delicious, flavour-bursting rice balls at home. It does take a bit of effort and time (and money, since risotto isn’t cheap in Singapore), but I guarantee it’s all worth the while!
- Chicken stock: 9 cups (or 9 cups water + 3 chicken stock cubes)
- Unsalted butter: 1 tbsp
- Olive oil: 2 tbsp
- White onion: 1, big, chopped
- Arborio (short grain) rice: 3 cups, washed
- White wine: 1 cup
- Grated parmesan cheese: 1 cup
- Thyme: 2 tbsp
- Prosciutto ham: 200g, chopped
- Salt: 1/2 tsp
- Ground blackpepper: to taste
- Bring chicken stock to a boil. Set aside.
- Melt butter in pan. Add olive oil and onions. Saute till soft & translucent.
- Stir in rice to coat with butter. Add white wine and cook till absorbed by rice.
- Add 1 cup chicken stock. Cook till absorbed by rice. Continue till all stock has been used up and rice becomes creamy (about 30 min).
- Stir in parmesan, thyme, prosciutto, salt and black pepper. Remove from heat and leave to cool.
Ingredients (Rice balls):
- Egg: 2 (beaten) + 4 (beaten, for coating)
- Grated parmesan cheese: 1 cup
- Bread crumbs: 1/2 cup + 3 cups (for coating)
- Mozzarella cheese: 70g, cubed
- Oil: 1 bottle, for deep frying
- Mix eggs, parmesan & bread crumbs into cooled risotto.
- Form balls with 2 tbsp rice mixture each.
- Insert mozzarella cubes into balls. Close ball with rice. Roll into round shape.
- Roll balls in breadcrumbs. Roll in egg, and then back in breadcrumbs.
- Heat oil in wok.
- Deep-fry balls in hot oil. Cook till golden brown (5 min).
- Drain on paper towels and rest for 2 min.
- Garnish with remaining thyme to serve.
- If you are worried about the balls breaking up during deep-frying, you can also use shallow-fry with half the amount of oil. Turn the balls over once and cook till both sides become golden brown.
- I ran out of breadcrumbs for coating the balls for deep-frying and decided to add in some grated coconut to coat them as well. Disappointingly, the coconut fragrance didn’t come out at all; I ended up with a few balls that aren’t as crispy as those with only breadcrumbs too.
30 medium-sized balls or 60 small balls