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Veal and Cheesy Arancini

This traditional Italian rice ball is great for serving as an appetizer or side dish. Next time you’re whipping up a batch of risotto, make double to make assembling this recipe even easier.

Meat Filing:

  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) butter
  • 1 lb (500 g) ground veal
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) each salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups (500 mL) diced canned tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) finely chopped fresh basil

Risotto:

  • 7 cups (1.75 L) sodium-reduced chicken
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups (500 mL) Arborio rice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) each salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup (250 mL) dry white wine

Assembly:

  • 1 1/3 cups (325 mL) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 8 oz (250 g) buffalo mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch (1 cm) cubes
  • 4 cups (1 L) dried breadcrumbs
  • 1 1/2 tsp (7 mL) each salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • Vegetable oil

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Total Time: 8 hours

Meat Filling: Heat oil and butter in skillet over medium-high heat. Crumble in veal and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 8 minutes or until golden brown. Reduce heat to medium. Stir in onion and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in tomatoes. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 30 minutes or until most of the liquid is reduced and pan is dry. Stir in basil. Cool completely.

Risotto: Pour the broth into a saucepan set over medium heat; bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low to maintain heat.

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven set over medium heat. Add the onion. Cook for 5 minutes or until softened. Add the risotto, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes or until well coated.

Pour in the wine. Cook, stirring constantly, until almost all the liquid is absorbed. Add all but 1/2 cup (125 mL) of the broth, 1 cup (250 mL) at a time and stirring constantly for 25 to 30 minutes or until the rice is tender but still slightly toothsome in the center. Stir in the reserved 1/2 cup (125 mL) broth. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until heated through. Remove from heat and discard bay leaf.

Stir the Meat Filling with risotto until well combined. Scrape onto a large baking sheet and cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or until well chilled (overnight is best).

Assembly: Stir Parmesan cheese into the risotto mixture. Roll 1/4 cup (60 mL) of the rice mixture into a ball. Hollow out the center to create a space for the filling. Place a cube of mozzarella in the center of each ball. Reshape the rice to enclose the filling. Repeat to make 24 rice balls.

Season breadcrumbs with salt and pepper. Coat rice balls first in flour, then dip in the beaten eggs and then roll in breadcrumbs until well coated.

Meanwhile, in a deep fryer or deep saucepan, pour enough oil to come about 4-inches (10 cm) up the sides of the pan and heat to 350°F (180°C). Fry rice balls, in batches, for 3 to 4 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to paper towel-lined tray. Serve warm or room temperature.

Cook’s Note: Arancini can be fried and held at room temperature for up to 2 hours and rewarmed in a low oven before serving. For a slightly different flavour, try stuffing arancini with goat cheese instead of mozzarella.

Per Serving: Calories 228, Fat 10 grams, Cholesterol 70mg, Sodium 431mg, Carbohydrates 24 grams, Fibre 1 gram, Sugar 0 grams, Protein 5 grams.
One serving contains 6% of the %DV of Calcium. One serving contains 5% of the %DV of Iron.

Makes 24

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