Pesto arancini is, by far, one of my favorite gifts from Italy.The last time we were in Italy, if I had one I had one hundred arancini. Okay, maybe not one hundred, but I got dangerously close. Crunchy on the outside. Soft, creamy and decadent on the inside. Portable. Savory. Teeny. Mouth-watering. Nibbles.
I’m guaranteed if you guys follow even a few blogs, you will start to see some incredible football nosh making its way onto the scene. So I was inspired by everyone’s gorgeous party food to come up with an Italian tailgate treat of my own.
Arancini is typically made with short-grain rice, like arborio, which is commonly used for Risotto, however, I, for some reason, had two very large bags of medium-grain rice in my pantry… so, medium-grain rice it is! And I tell you what, it’s a fine substitute as long as you don’t overcook and you drain it very well.
Pesto Arancini was the winner. Delicious hot out the fryer, cooled to room temp, or cold from the fridge – this little baby is as versatile a snack as they come. You can fill it with a cube of melty cheese, meat and sweet pea ragu, or basil pesto in all its herb-y glory like we’re doing today.
Once the rice is cooked and cooled, combine it with your finished pesto, then throw it in the fridge for around an hour. Once the mixture is very cold and firm, with a small 1 inch scoop, form balls in the shape of tiny oranges – which by the way, is where this little beauty gets its name. Roll the rice balls in beaten eggs and then coat in Italian seasoned bread crumbs.
In a large skillet, over medium-high heat , cook 4 – 5 balls at a time for 2 – 3 minutes until golden brown, carefully turning as you go.
Using a slotted spoon, remove rice balls and drain on paper towels.
Keep finished arancini in a warm oven until the entire batch is complete. This recipe makes 60 – 65 balls.
Just enough to feed a hungry tailgatin’ crowd! Or me. Whoever gets there first…