Arancini, or supplì, are great party appetizers as they can be prepared ahead of time, frozen, and then thawed and fried when needed. Arancini or arancine are fried rice balls coated with breadcrumbs, and are said to have originated in Sicily in the 10th century. Arancini are usually filled with ragù, tomato sauce, mozzarella, and/or peas. In Roman cuisine, supplì are similar, but more commonly filled just with cheese. During our season here in Umbria I often make a double batch of these tasty rice balls and freeze them to serve at our weekly wine tasting with guests. Arancini can be stuffed with a number of different options, but with this version I used a tomato flavored risotto, and then stuffed the rice balls with chunks of an Umbrian cheese much like Brie. When the rice balls are fried, the outer coating gets crisp and brown, while the rice inside stays creamy with a melted cheese center.
To prepare ahead of time, I simply shape and bread the arancini, then place on a baking sheet in the freezer. Once frozen, I place in airtight plastic bags and store them in the freezer for up to three months. When needed, I completely thaw the arancini and fry just before serving.
Deborah Mele 2012
Supplì alla Romana
Cheese stuffed rice balls from Rome.
- 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 2 Tablespoons Butter
- 1/2 Cup Finely Chopped Onion
- 1 Cup Arborio Rice
- 1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
- 2 Cups Chicken Broth Mixed With 3 Cups Pureed Tomatoes, Heated
- Salt & Pepper
- 4 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Basil
- 1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
- 1 Cup All-purpose Flour
- 2 Eggs Beaten With 1/3 Cup Milk
- 2 Cups Seasoned Breadcrumbs
- 6 Ounces Soft Melting Cheese Such As Scamorza, Brie, Fontina, etc. Cut Into Pieces
- Oil For Frying
- Heat the oil and butter in a heavy saucepan.
- Add the onions and cook until they are translucent.
- Add the rice and stir until it is well coated with the butter and oil mixture.
- Add the white wine, and stir continually over medium heat until it is absorbed.
- Start to add 1/2 cup of hot broth and tomato mixture, stirring as it is absorbed.
- Continue in this manner, adding ladles full of hot broth, and stirring continuously for about 20-25 minutes or until the rice is cooked, but remains slightly firm to the teeth.
- Stir in the grated cheese and basil and season with salt and pepper.
- Refrigerate risotto, covered, for 8 hours, or overnight.
- Place the flour in one shallow bowl, the eggs and milk in another, and the breadcrumbs in a third bowl.
- Take a small handful of the rice and place in your palm creating an indentation in the center.
- Place a piece of cheese in the center, and wrap the rice around the cheese creating an oblong shape as shown in the photos.
- Continue to use up all the rice in the same manner making more arancini, placing the finished ones on a baking sheet.
- Take each rice ball and first roll in flour, then dip into the egg mixture, and finally roll in breadcrumbs.
- Return to the baking sheet, and continue to coat the remaining rice balls in the same manner.
- Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan to 375 degrees F.
- Fry 3 or 4 rice balls at a time until crisp and golden brown.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove from the oil, and place on a tray covered in paper towels in a warm oven.
- Continue to fry the remaining rice balls in the same fashion, then serve hot.