With the holidays here, you want a delicious, yet simple appetizer. These Arancini (or risotto bites) are the best fancy fake-out!
The holidays are HERE! Aside from baking up a storm, appetizers are huge this time of year. I love to have a couple of simple, fancy-ish ones up my sleeve for gatherings. Arancini, aka Risotto balls, are delicious and you can make them ahead of time, simply frying them up before your party.
Every year, I hope to throw a fun holiday gathering with my friends, yet the busy schedules always seem to get in the way. I am determined to make it happen this year! I would love to host an Italian Happy Hour with simple bites, Cavit wine and conversation. No ugly sweater gimmicks, just a fun happy hour. Not saying I don’t love Ugly Sweater parties…but I just want something simplified.
The best part of the Arancini is the cheesy center! It’s a nice surprise for your guests–my girls went crazy for these. You can make these up to 3 days ahead of time, simply shallow frying them right before the party. I have a delicious Tomato Risotto recipe that is perfect for this recipe. If you want to use a store bought boxed mix, that works too! Just make sure you have 2 cups of cold, prepared risotto before starting the Arancini.
Arancini can go with both red and white Cavit wine. The marinara pairs with red, yet I love to pair creamy dishes with white wine. Cavit Wine is not only delicious wine, it’s budget friendly. I like to get 3 bottles of the Select Red Blend and 3 of Pinot Grigio for any gathering. They’re crowd pleasers for everyone!
- 2 cups of cooked and chilled risotto
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan
- 1.5 cups Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs
- 4 oz mozzarella , cubed
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil to shallow fry (about 1/2 cup)
- To Dip: Marinara
In a medium sized bowl, add chilled risotto, eggs, Parmesan and 1/2 cup bread crumbs. Stir to incorporate.
Preheat cast iron skillet or pan with 1/2 inch Extra Virgin Olive Oil over medium heat.
Pour the rest of the bread crumbs on a plate.
Using a teaspoon, scoop the risotto mixture into round balls. Roll to make a circle, then push a small square of mozzarella in the center. Roll to cover cheese.
Transfer the arancini to the bread crumb plate and roll to cover. Place in hot pan, frying on both sides until golden brown.
Place on a paper towel lined plate after cooking and sprinkle with salt.
Serve with warmed marinara.
If you are prepping ahead of time, make follow all of the steps before shallow frying, including rolling in the bread crumbs. Store on a plate in the refrigerator until ready to fry--up to 3 days.
For other side dishes to go with this happy hour, I love simple ideas like Prosciutto wrapped Grissini (thin breadsticks) or Polenta Bites.
For another delicious idea, check out this appetizer idea: Smoked Trout Bites with Pinot Grigio.
What appetizers do you like to pair with wine? Have you tried Cavit Wine?