Traditional arancini is one of the dishes in my “next 100 ideas” post. Why? Because fried rice balls with savory ground beef and pea filling in tomato gravy is just amazing. And I’m definitely going to share a traditional arancini recipe one of these days. However, zucchini are just coming into season, which gives this recipe precedence. Also, it was really fabulously tasty and I highly recommend trying it right away. You might compare these small bites to crispy yet also creamy risotto fritters. As for the taste: sharp, nutty and delectably meltable parmesan was a glorious counterpoint to sweet, caramelized zucchini and starchy rice. And the crunchy outside! Wow.
These rice balls were easier to keep together when they were cold, so if you notice them start to fall apart as you handle them, put them in the fridge or freezer for a bit before dipping them in egg wash and breadcrumb.
Zucchini & Parmesan Arancini
Yield: 12 - 16 (depending on size)
1 1/2 cups cooked short grain white rice
2 zucchini, sliced lengthwise to matchstick length (1/8 inch)
3 ounces finely grated parmesan
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Oil, for frying (any neutral oil, such as vegetable or peanut)
1. Preheat oven to 400. Toss sliced zucchini with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Lay zucchini in a single layer on a cookie sheet and then roast until soft, about 12 minutes.
2. Allow zucchini to cool, then dice and mix with rice and cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Form arancini into small balls and press firmly to compact. If they are too warm after handling cool them down.
3. Fill a small pot with about 1” of oil and heat over medium flame. Dip arancini in egg, then roll in breadcrumbs. Lay arancini in a single layer in oil and cook until the underside has become golden brown, 3 - 5 minutes, depending on size of fritter.
4. Flip and cook an additional 3 - 4 minutes.