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Fried Arancini

As I mentioned in a previous post, Nick and I hosted our 2nd Annual Deep Fry party this past weekend, which was a major hit! I mean, who doesn't love throwing multiple food items into a deep fryer? Exactly.

Each guest brings something to fry and we had quite the variation this year. I was lucky to be able to try fried avocado, fried asparagus, fried buffalo chicken egg rolls, fried chicken wings, fried onion rings, fried jalapeno poppers, deep fried turkey (thanks to Nick), and fried candy bars and Oreos.

My contribution was Fried Arancini (risotto balls). I am a sucker for these things and decided I would attempt them myself. They turned out very well, served with my homemade marinara sauce. Don't be intimidated by risotto or these risotto balls. They really weren't difficult! Enjoy! Ingredients:

3 cups low-sodium chicken broth

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 small onion, chopped

3/4 cup Arborio rice

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1-2 cups Italian-style seasoned bread crumbs, for breading

1-2 tb finely chopped fresh basil leaves

4 ounces Smoked Mozzarella, at room temperature, cut into 16 (1/2-inch) cubes

oil, for frying (we used peanut oil)

Directions: In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a simmer over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and keep the broth hot. In a large, heavy saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter. Add the wine and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup hot broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of broth to absorb before adding the next. Cook the rice until tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the remaining butter, Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Spread on a cookie sheet and cool in the refrigerator for about an hour. Put the bread crumbs in a medium bowl. With damp hands, using about 2 tablespoons of the risotto mixture, form the mixture into 1 3/4-inch diameter balls. Make a hole in the center of each ball and insert a cube of smoked mozzarella. Cover up the hole to completely enclose the cheese. Roll the balls in the bread crumbs to coat. You have two options to fry: use a deep fryer and cook for approximately 4-5 minutes OR in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, pour in enough oil to fill the pan about 1/3 of the way. Heat over medium heat until a deep-frying thermometer inserted in the oil reaches 350 degrees F. (If you dont have a thermometer, a cube of bread will brown in about 2 minutes.) In batches, fry the rice balls, turning occasionally, until golden, about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels and serve with marinara sauce.

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