Thursday, March 25, 2010

Arancini with Fresh Mozzarella , Petit Pois and Toasted Pistachio

These arancini are deep-fried risotto balls stuffed with fresh mozzarella, peas and pistachios.  That description alone was enough to sell us on the concept.  They take some time to assemble so don't make our mistake and start the process at 8:00 on a weeknight.  That being said, if you have the time to prepare these, the results are well worth the effort.  They are crunchy, creamy, and gooey all at the same time, with wonderful Italian flavors that make a fantastic dinner.  If you are lucky enough to have fresh peas in the garden now, so much the better.   Fresh chickpeas, another vegetable we're harvesting now, would make a delicious alternative.

Fresh Mozzarella, Petit Pois and Toasted Pistachio Arancini
from Food and Wine December 2009


2 1/2           Tbs              unsalted butter
1                                     small onion, minced
1 1/2           cup               arborio rice
1/2              cup              dry white wine
                   pinch            saffron threads, crumbled
                                       sea salt and black pepper to taste
3                 cups             vegetable stock, warmed
3                 Tbs              parmesan, grated
1/2              Tbs              unbleached A.P. flour, plus more for dusting
1/4              cup              plus 2 Tbs milk
                   pinch           nutmeg
4                 oz                fresh mozzarella, finely diced
1/2              cup              plus 2 Tbs chopped, salted pistachios
2                 Tbs             petit pois or baby peas, removed from pods
2                                    eggs, beaten
1 1/2           cups            panko bread crumbs
                                      vegetable oil for frying
                                      deep fryer or thermometer

  1. In a large saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat until lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring, until well coated with butter. Add the white wine and saffron, season with sea salt and black pepper and cook, stirring, until the wine is absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add the warm stock 1/2 cup at a time and, stirring constantly between additions, cook until it is absorbed. The risotto is done when the rice is al dente, around 25 minutes total. Stir in the grated cheese, transfer to a bowl and let cool.
  2. Melt the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of butter in a small saucepan. Add the 1/2 tablespoon of flour and whisk constantly over moderate heat for 1 minute. Add the milk and cook, whisking, until thickened. Add nutmeg and set aside to cool completely. When cooled, add mozzarella, pistachios and peas.
  3. Line a sheet pan with a silpat or parchment paper. Put the eggs, panko and flour for in 3 separate shallow bowls. Using lightly moistened hands, shape the rice mixture into 16 equal balls. Working with one ball at a time, make an indentation in the center with your finger and press the sides to make the hollow larger. Spoon a scant tablespoon of the pistachio filling into the hollow and press the risotto around the filling to enclose it. Transfer the ball to the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining risotto and filling. Roll the risotto balls in the flour, tapping off the excess. Then roll them in the egg, and last roll them in the panko.
  4. Heat vegetable oil in deep fryer or pot to 350°. Fry the arancini, turning occasionally, until golden and heated through, about 6 minutes. Remove to paper towels to dry, then serve hot.
Vintage platter in photo is "Raffia" pattern by Vernonware


    1. Wow, they look good! I've only had arancini once in my life, in a road restaurant in Italy, near Torino and... well, they didn't live up to my expectations, but I've got to try them again.

    2. These sound fantastic! Perfect for a dinner party.

    3. these looks great and im sure they taste great too!
      i want some

    4. I have been away from your blog too long! (It's all Foodbuzz's fault.) So I am revisiting my old haunts and adding you to my blog reading list because it is too yummy and good to not have a reminder for my eyes everyday of what an amazing cook you are! These look awesome and I love the combo--peas and pistachios: YUM!

    5. Oh, wow, these look spectacular! Such a scrumptious filling!

    6. Beautiful! I made those for kids and they looooved it. They are fun to eat for sure, two bites and they're gone. Should try your version with pistachios and peas. hmmmmmm

    7. Wow I am feeling hungry seeing those luscious filling. Yum Yum! I'll try them promise lol

    8. WOW! These look really delicious!!

    9. Hello,

      We bumped into your blog and we really liked it - great recipes YUM YUM.
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    10. I find that arancini are either amazing, or disappointingly bland, and these certainly sound like the former (particularly with fresh peas, what a treat)!


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