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Updated: May 20, 2021

My daughters where both fortunate enough to spend time in Italy a few years ago. When they came home, they’d ask me to make certain dishes for them to remind them of their time there. Arancini, was one of those dishes.

Arancini packs an amazing flavor combination. The meat filling is wonderful by itself, but adding it inside creamy risotto, and then rolling all of that into bread crumbs and frying it is delicious.

My advice with Arancini is to take your time making the risotto. We like the rice a little al- dente, so I’ll stop adding in the hot broth to it once a certain creaminess is achieved, but there’s still a little bit of crunch to it. I used fresh tomatoes for the tomato sauce. You can use canned tomatoes as well and just adjust the salt. For my family, this makes a complete meal served with a salad. I also like serving it with extra tomato sauce. This time, I served a side of AR Hot Southern Honey for a little twist.

For the filling:

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef

  • 2 Tablespoons cup olive oil

  • 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped

  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped

  • 1 carrot, peeled ans finely chopped

  • 1/2 cup frozen peas

  • 2 cups tomato sauce ( homemade recipe is below, but can use store bought)

  • salt and pepper

Risotto shell:

  • 1 quart of Better Than Bouillon vegetable stock, ( 4 teaspoons diluted in 4 cups of boiling water), or any vegetable broth you like using

  • 4 Tablespoons butter

  • 2 lb Arborio rice

  • 4-8 saffron threads

  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan

  • 2 eggs, beaten

  • 1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs

  • oil for frying

Yield: 20 balls

Prep Time: 1 day in advance and 1 hour

Cook Time: 30 minutes


  1. A day before you want to serve the Arancini, make the filling. In a saucepan, cook the beef making sure to break up any large pieces.

  2. When the meat starts to brown, add the onion, celery and carrot. Cook on medium heat for 6 minutes. Add the peas and adjust the seasoning to your liking with salt and pepper.

  3. Add the tomato sauce and simmer on low heat for 20- 25 minutes.

  4. Remove from the heat, and place in a bowl. Allow to cool.

  5. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.

  6. To make the risotto, boil the broth in a pan. In a separate wide bottom pan, melt the butter.

  7. Add the rice. Stir until the butter has coated the rice. Stir in the broth by the ladelfull. Always waiting until the liquid has been absorbed by the rice before adding the next ladelfull. Stir until the risotto is smooth and creamy. This could take a while so be patient.

  8. Add the saffron. Mix well and add the parmesan. Spread the cooked risotto on a baking sheet to cool it down a little. You don't want the heat of the rice to cook the eggs. Beat the eggs in a bowl, and add the rice. Mix to coat the rice.

  9. Take out the filling from the refrigerator, and put the breadcrumbs in a bowl.

  10. Now start the assembly process:

  11. Take a handful of rice. Place in the palm of your hand, and hollow it out. Place 1 Tablespoon on the filling in the hollowed out rice. Cover the filling with more rice. Shape to form a ball. Roll each ball in the breadcrumbs.

  12. Once all the balls are ready, heat 2 inches of oil. When the oil reaches the temperature of 325°, add the balls. Cook for 3 minutes on each side. Drain on a paper towel. Serve with extra tomato sauce.

Tomato Sauce:

  • 2 lb. tomatoes, whole, cut in quarters ( or whole canned tomatoes)

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • salt and pepper

  1. Cook the tomatoes in a pan. Once softened, place in a food processor to puree.

  2. In a saute pan, heat the olive oil, add the onion and the garlic. Once softened, add the tomato puree, sugar and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 4 minutes.

  3. The puree is ready to be used.

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