Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Spinach Arancini

  • Wow! Was this a complicated recipe!
    Way back when it was just Phil and little teeny Joshua and I in Italy we used to spend time at a local mall-type shopping center called Panorama. Their food court of sorts sold a few things like roast chicken, pizza (my favorite to see was "Americana" with hot dogs and french fries on it), french fries and arancini. I was nervous to try them at first but they were delicious! They sold several different kinds with different ingredients. My favorite had cheese and prosciutto. Delicious! 
  • A couple months ago we were at a grocery store and Phil found a pack of them in the freezer section and asked me to make them. I'm finally getting around to it. 
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup uncooked Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 cup chopped fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 24 (1/2 inch) cubes mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups Progresso® Italian style panko crispy bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Line cookie sheet with cooking parchment paper. In 3-quart saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook about 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add garlic; cook and stir 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Stir in rice and wine; cook 5 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until liquid is absorbed. Add 1 cup broth; cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until broth is absorbed. Add remaining 1 cup broth; cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until broth is absorbed.

  • Season with pepper. Stir in spinach, butter and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Spread onto cookie sheet. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 1 hour 30 minutes or until firm. (Mixture can be refrigerated overnight.)

  • On cookie sheet, shape rice mixture into 12x8-inch rectangle. Cut into 6 rows by 4 rows to make 24 squares. Place 1 mozzarella cheese cube in center of each square; shape rice around cheese cubes to make balls.

  • Place flour and bread crumbs in separate bowls. In another bowl, beat egg and water until blended. Coat each ball with flour, then dip into egg mixture and coat with bread crumbs. Place coated balls on unlined cookie sheet; refrigerate 30 minutes.

  • Line platter or shallow pan with paper towels. Heat about 2 inches vegetable oil in a pan to 350 degrees F. Fry balls 3 to 4 minutes, turning once, until golden brown. With slotted spoon, remove balls to towel-lined platter to drain. Serve hot.

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