Orange-shaped rice balls

January 19, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Bringing the taste of Italy to your own kitchen has never been easier. Orange Shaped Rice Balls with White Sauce Filling is a simple and scrumptious dish you can make tonight.

Orange shaped rice balls with a white sauce filling/ Arancine di riso con la béchamel
Serves 6 makes makes 24 x 80 gms arancine

  • 1 lb Arborio or Roma rice
  • 3 oz. butter
  • 1 1/2 oz parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 1 teaspoon saffron in powder
  • Salt

For the white sauce:

  • 3/4 oz butter
  • 3/4 oz flour
  • 8 fl oz milk
  • 1 1/2 oz mozzarella cheese, finely chopped
  • 1 3/4 oz primosale or a mild cheese, finely chopped
  • 1 (172 oz) a thick slice of cooked ham, finely chopped

For the batter:

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3 cups breadcrumbs for coating
  • Extra virgin olive oil for frying

Cook the rice in 1 1/2 litres (4 quarts) of salted boiling water according to package instructions. Drain and pour back into stockpot. Season with the butter, 6 tablespoons of parmesan and saffron until well combined. Leave the rice to cool..

Make the white sauce by melting the butter in a small casserole. Whisk in the flour over low heat for about 1 minute. Gradually add the milk, whisking until blended. Raise heat and stir until it comes to the boil, cook for 1 minute and switch off. Season with salt and the remaining parmesan. Mix in the cheeses and ham. The béchamel can be made a day in advance.

Line all ingredients in front of you on a flat surface: a small bowl with water for your hands, the rice, the béchamel mixture, a teaspoon and a board or dish to put the rice balls on.

Moisten the palm of your left hand with water and top with a thin, flattened layer of rice about the length of your palm. Top with 1 1/2 teaspoons of béchamel and cover with a similar handful of rice. Pat together, shaping into an oval 7 x 5 cm ( 2" x 3")ball. If any of the béchamel 'leaks' it helps the rice to stick. The filling is the tastier part, so make sure there is plenty of it. Place on a dish and make all arancine this way.

Arancine can now be frozen or put in the fridge until the next day. This helps the rice stick further together. If defrosting, bring the rice balls to room temperature before coating in the batter and breadcrumbs and frying.

Make a thin batter by whisking the flour with the water with a pinch of salt until smooth. Pour breadcrumbs into a large dish for coating.

Pat arancine again into shape, dip into the batter, shake off excess batter and roll into the breadcrumbs patting further to make sure arancine are compact and the coating even and smooth.

In a deep frying pan, bring the oil to frying temperature and fry the arancine over medium heat until golden, turning regularly as they cook. Place on absorbent paper and serve still warm.