If you have U.S.-grown Arborio or short grain rice and our California Dried Figs on hand, you have the beginnings of an appetizer that appeals to all with this arancini recipe composed of leftover risotto. Crunchy rice balls, created by Chef Hari Cameron are filled with a prosciutto, fig, and mozzarella middle tucked into creamy cheesy rice with a crunchy coating. There are a few steps to making them but they will be the hit of any party.
Arancini, the Rice Move with Leftover Risotto
While arancini is Italian for “little orange,” they are known as a small rice ball stuffed with a savory filling, rolled in breadcrumbs and then fried.
Made with U.S.-grown short grain rice, this recipe brings together authentic flavors, cultural influences, and the highest quality grains available while supporting your local rice farmers. Short grain rice is the smallest grain size variety with short and almost round rice kernels and has a starch known as amylose. It allows the cooked grains to be soft and stickier than other varieties for a risotto. Held to the highest growing, milling, and quality standards, U.S.-grown rice is a sustainably grown crop that ensures you are eating the world’s cleanest and highest quality GMO-free rice while supporting American farmers and limiting your carbon footprint.
The secret’s in the stock for the arancini as robust arborio rice plumps up. By adding a glug of stock at a time and stirring until the liquid is mostly absorbed before adding more liquid, the rice cooks but also soaks up all the stock until you finally have a creamy dish, bolstered with Parmesan and mascarpone. Then, the risotto is chilled until solid. If you’ve ever made risotto and had leftovers, you now know a popular way to give it new life too. (And trust us, you could make the risotto below and skip the rest, simply serving it with some of the port-infused mission figs for a sumptuous side dish).
The risotto gets rolled into balls (we used a tablespoon measuring spoon) and then you make a pinch pot, pressing a well into the middle as the fingers from your hand holding the rice ball cradles the ball so the outer edges stay intact. This arancini recipe is a terrific way to use leftover risotto. At this point you’re ready to fill.
Fill with Figs (and Friends)
Our California Dried Mission Figs are first hydrated in port wine, which amplifies the natural familiar sweetness of the figs. In Fresno, California where the hot summer sun makes for the perfect climate for growing figs, they sun-dry on the branch to harvest perfection before being packed and sold under the Orchard Choice and Sun-Maid brands.
The port-hydrated figs are pulsed together into a slightly chunky filling with prosciutto and fresh mozzarella for the filling. We used a ½ teaspoon to scoop some of that filling into the cavity of the arancini. But this isn’t the only way the figs get used.
Our California Dried Golden Figs, which are delicately sweet and a little nutty in flavor are first cut in half and then hydrated in the port wine too. After they drink in some of the port, they are drained and cooled separately, to be used as a garnish for the final just fried arancini.
Prosciutto and cheese are natural flavor partners to figs—we feature them in salads, on pizza, and even in a spaghetti squash main dish.
All in on this Arancini Recipe
Once the arancini recipe is made with the leftover risotto and the arborio rice balls are filled and rolled, they get coated in flour and then a dunk into whisked eggs before a final roll through breadcrumbs. These layers help create the crispiest outer shell while also buffering the tender rice and filling from the hot oil.
Finally, after a few hours in the freezer, the arancini are deep fried and served with a lemon vinaigrette dressed bed of greens—Chef Hari Cameron suggests frisée lettuce with its peppery flavor and frilly leaves, but if you can’t find frisée, you could also try arugula.
Prosciutto + California Fig Stuffed California Short Grain Rice Arancini Recipe
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 fennel bulb , small diced
- 2 cloves garlic , minced
- Salt + freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup California Short Grain Rice
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 4 1/2 cups vegetable stock
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 tablespoon mascarpone cheese
- 4 ounces Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Mission Figs , stemmed
- 5 ounces Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Golden Dried Figs , stemmed and halved
- 1 1/2 cups port wine , enough to cover the figs
- 1/4 ounce thinly sliced prosciutto di Parma
- 2 ounce ball fresh mozzarella , small diced
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs , lightly beaten
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- Oil for deep frying
- Frisee lettuce (or arugula)
- Lemon vinaigrette (to dress lettuce if making small plates)
- Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Once melted, add fennel, shallot, and garlic. Cook for five minutes until the shallot is soft but not caramelized. Season with salt and pepper. Add the rice and cook for five minutes, stirring constantly until dry and fragrant. Add the white wine, stirring often until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid. Season the rice again with salt and pepper. Add one cup of hot stock and stir often until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid.
- Continue adding the stock one cup at a time, until the remainder of the stock has been added, making sure that you are constantly stirring the entire time. At this point, taste the rice for consistency and seasoning. You might need to cook for a scant amount of time longer until the rice is cooked through and the rice might need a little more seasoning. At this time, add Parmesan and Mascarpone. Refrigerate until cool.
Hydrate Figs in Port and Make the Filling
- Put port wine in a small pot and season with a pinch of salt. Bring the port to a simmer and allow both varieties of figs to hydrate and cool them separately. In a food processor, pulse Mission Figs, prosciutto, and fresh mozzarella until combined.
Make the Arancini Recipe
- With your hands, a spoon, or a small ice cream scoop, form balls to a one-inch diameter. Using your thumbs, make an indentation in the center and fill with the mixture. Pinch around the edges to enclose and roll into a ball to reshape each ball.
- Roll each of the balls in the seasoned all purpose flour until coated. Then roll balls in the beaten egg mixture, and finally in the breadcrumb mixture making sure to coat evenly. Gently tap off any excess. Place the balls in a covered container and freeze for one to two hours.
- Fry at 325 degrees Fahrenheit until golden brown, cooking for two to three minutes. Pat fritters of any excess oil and season with salt. Serve on a bed of frisée or arugula with port-hydrated fig halves. Enjoy!