Cheesy Mozzarella Stuffed Arancini with Spicy Marinara Sauce


Arancini. Hot. Damn.

This recipe is an absolute appetizer rockstar dish. Crispy, cheesy, comforting, and perfect to feed a hungry crowd. So much win.

Mozzarella Stuffed Arancini with Spicy Marinara Sauce

Serves a hungry app-loving crowd 


8 cups chicken stock, warmed in a saucepan

3 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 medium onion, finely diced

2 cups arborio (risotto) rice

2 cups dry white wine

½ cup finely grated parmesan cheese

Juice of ½ a lemon

1/4 cup minced fresh basil leaves

Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Spicy Marinara Sauce

¼ cup olive oil

5 garlic cloves, minced

1 X 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

1 fresh red chili, seeds removed and finely diced

1 tablespoon minced basil leaves

1 teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Arancini Goodness

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup breadcrumbs

Zest of ½ a lemon

½ teaspoon cracked black pepper

Pinch of sea salt

8-ounces mozzarella cheese, cubed

Canola (or vegetable) oil, for frying

1. Risotto time! Heat a large high-sided skillet over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of the butter and the olive oil. When melted, add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds (make sure it doesn’t burn). Add the onion, season with a pinch of sea salt, and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, until the onion is translucent.

2. Add the rice and cook, stirring continuously, for 30 seconds, making sure the rice is completely coated in melted buttery goodness. Add the wine and cook, still stirring, until it has almost entirely been absorbed into the rice (2 – 3 minutes). Reduce the heat to medium-low. While stirring continuously (I know, SO. MUCH. STIRRING), add the stock, ½ cup at a time, until almost absorbed into the rice. Then repeat. And repeat again. The risotto should never be dry. Keep repeating until about 7 cups of stock has been incorporated into the rice. It should take around 30 minutes (a glass of wine while stirring is not required, but recommended).

3. Check the risotto. Give it a taste, it should still have a little bite but be tender and almost ready to rock. Stir in the remaining cup of stock and let it reduce and thicken.

4. Remove the risotto from the heat and add the remaining tablespoon of butter, parmesan cheese, fresh basil, lemon juice, and cracked black pepper. Give the risotto a final taste and season with sea salt as necessary. Awesome.

5. Marinara time! Heat a 3-quart saucepan over medium-heat, and pour in the olive oil. When warm, add the garlic and diced chili and cook for 30 seconds, keep watch that it doesn’t burn. Add the tomatoes and basil, then season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Let the marinara bubble away for 10 minutes, then remove from the heat. Done! Perfect.

6. Arancini time! Prepare 3 bowls; one with the flour, one with the beaten eggs, and one with the breadcrumbs, lemon zest, and a good pinch of sea salt and pepper.

7. Working one at a time, scoop the cooled risotto out into 1/2 cup portions. Place an indent into the risotto portion, then stuff a small piece of mozzarella inside it. Shape the risotto around the cheese forming a ball, making sure that the cheese is completely hidden inside. 

8. One at a time, carefully toss each ball in the flour, then the egg wash, and lastly the breadcrumb mixture, making sure each arancini is completely coated in deliciousness. Transfer to a board until ready to fry. 

9. Heat 3-inches of canola oil in a dutch oven (or deep-fryer) to 350 degrees F. Working in batches, fry the risotto balls for 2 – 3 minutes, flipping halfway through, until crispy and golden brown on all sides. Serve with your spicy marinara sauce, extra parmesan cheese, and beautiful red wine, for good measure. Delicious!


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