Daniel Mezzolo’s Arancini


A popular Sicilian snack or starter dish, arincini means "little orange," and is similar in look and shape. The fried rice balls can be stuffed with all sorts of fillings like ragu, cheese, or just plain. Here Chef Daniel Mezzolo shares his take on the Italian favourite.



Mushroom Risotto
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 tbsp olive oil
2 large shallots, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 cups chopped button mushrooms
2 sprigs fresh thyme
3 cups arborio rice
2 tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 tbsp olive oil
For Breading and Frying Arancini
2 cups fontina cheese, cut into small cubes
3 cups flour
6 eggs
2 tbsp 35% cream
3 cups breadcrumbs
as needed vegetable oil, for frying
For Serving and Garnishing
as needed store bought marinara sauce
optional additional grated parmesan cheese, fresh basil leaves


Step One: Make Mushroom Risotto
  1. In a medium pot, heat the stock, keeping at a gentle simmer.
  2. In a large saucepan, 2 tbsp heat butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté until transparent (do not brown). Add garlic and mushroom and saute until mushrooms are cooked but not coloured. Add arborio rice, thyme sprigs and toast  over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes until well coated.
  3. Slowly add 1/2 cup of hot stock; stir gently until it is absorbed. (Do not stir too vigorously or you risk breaking the grains.) Continue this process until the risotto has been cooking for 10 to 12 minutes and all stock has been absorbed. Remove from heat.
  4. Gently stir in remaining 2 tbsp butter. Add parmesan and season to taste with salt. Pour onto a parchment lined baking sheet, and place in the fridge to cool.
Step Two: Roll and fry arancini.
  1. Form cooled mushroom risotto into 1- 2 oz balls. Reserve on baking sheet or plates.
  2. Prepare breading station. Add to three separate, shallow containers: 1) flour, 2) whisked eggs and cream and 3 bread crumbs.
  3. Roll rice balls first into flour, dusting off excess, then gently into egg mixuture, then bread crumbs. Reserve breaded rice balls on another baking sheet.
  4. Heat vegetable oil in deep fryer or large wide pot (do not fill with oil more than a third of the way up) to 350F.
  5. Working in batches, fry the rice balls, turning, until golden brown on all sides, about 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels; season with salt.
  6. Serve with marinara sauce. Garnish, if desired with grated parmesan cheese and basil leaves.


Video: Daniel Mezzolo's Arancini

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