Arancini di Riso | Italian Rice Balls

Arancini di Riso

Arancini di Riso

Arancini di Riso


 Arancini di Riso better known in English as Rice Balls are made with Arborio Rice which is a short grain Italian rice mostly cultivated in the Po Valley of Northern Italy.





  • Arborio Rice – 3 cups
  • Thyme – 2 teaspoons
  • Chicken Stock – 7 cups ( have about 9 cups ready in case it’s needed)
  • Garlic – 3 cloves , fine chopped
  • Onion – 2 medium sized, finely chopped
  • Butter – 300 grams (unsalted)
  • White Wine – 2 cups
  • Saffron threads- 2 large pinches (powder is okay, too – 2 teaspoons.)
  • Parmesan Cheese – 1-1/2 cups finely grated
  • Fontina Cheese – 300 grams, medium cubed
  • Peas (fresh or frozen) – 1 1/2, cups
  • Flour
  • Egg Wash
  • Bread Crumbs (plain only) – 4 cups.
  • Canola Oil, for frying


  • Soak the saffron threads or powder in the wine.
  • Bring the stock to a gentle boil.
  • Melt the butter lightly in the pan over medium heat.
  • Add onion and garlic, cook slowly for 5-7 minutes until translucent (no color)
  • After 5-7 minutes add the rice to the pan and stir in well.
  • Lower the flame on the stove and heat the rice. Be careful not to burn the rice, stir well and often until the rice is warm to the touch in all areas of the pan.
  • Add the thyme and stir in well to release its perfume.
  • Add the white wine all at once.
  • Cook out wine well! ( Until almost completely evaporated )  
  • Add the hot stock,  one ladle at a time, constantly string to prevent sticking at the bottom of the pan (using the standard risotto making methods) until most of the liquid is absorbed.
  • Keep adding the stock and stirring constantly until the liquid is absorbed. When the rice is a little harder than “Al Dente” remove from the heat.
  • Add the Parmesan cheese and butter. Stir incorporate well and adjust the seasoning with salt and white pepper. Gently fold in the peas.
  • Leave to cool on and thin sheet tray.  Once cooled, the rice mixture can be stored in refrigerator up to 2 days.

Shaping & Baking :

  • Remove risotto from the fridge, bring to room temperature if time allows.(working with rice at room temperature prevents the partially-cooked rice from breaking into tiny pieces while working with it.)
  • Roll the rice slightly larger than a walnut.
  • Press a hole in the center of the ball and place a piece of Fontina cheese inside. Then close up re-forming the ball
  • Flour – Egg – Bread Crumb : Use the standard breading procedure to coat the balls with bread crumbs
  • Deep fry in clean Canola oil or frying oil of your preference. (Do not fry in Olive Oil)
  • Serve with a fresh Pomodoro ( Tomato Sauce)
  • Garnished with a dollop of fresh Pesto or sprig of Italian parsley.

Extra note:

1) Risotto Balls can freeze well once breaded and not yet cooked. Place them on a parchment lined tray in a single layer tightly rapped. They last for up to a month like this.

Statue of San Gennaro

Statue of San Gennaro


 It has been a staple food offering at New York City’s, Feast of San Gennaro since its inception in mid-September 1926.





Mulberry Street - Little Italy, NYC - San Gennaro Feast

Mulberry Street – Little Italy, NYC – San Gennaro Feast


The feast was to honor San Gennaro the Patron Saint of Naples, Italy. This feast takes place still every in New York City’s , Little Italy.





The key factors in this recipe are:

“Do not over cook the rice by any means. The first cooking of the Aborio rice should be a little harder then “Al Dente.” To ensure that when it’s cooked a second time, in order to heat and crisp them up, the rice remains Al Dente.”


 Buon Appetito!

  • Nona Shinagawa Myers

    Wow, this looks great. Just made fresh tomato sauce. This will go well. Making this week!! Thanks for sharing.

  • Franco Lania

    Ok, Great!

    Let me know how it turns out. :)