Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Arancini with Homemade Marinara

I have opened my blog several times since Sunday, with the intention to write a recipe. Each time, I sat there, staring at the screen, searching for the words that will not come. Everything I started to write didn't sound appropriate. It felt... meaningless. 

On Monday, I was reading the latest post on one of the blogs I follow, Pinch of Yum. Lindsay practically took the words from my mouth on how she was feeling. Right now, after the worst mass shooting in US history, I feel empty. Why does this keep happening? Everyone and their mother has an opinion. Most of the opinions I don't want to hear. If you can't muster the empathy to feel for the victims, people who were in that building, relatives who've lost someone that meant everything to them... I don't even know what to say to you. Here in my small corner of Kentucky, people are pretty judgmental about the fact that this shooting happened at a gay club. I overheard a lady at the grocery store in front of me in line tell the cashier that at least it was "a bunch of gay people" that died. 

I felt heat rush to my face, words threatening to come out angrily. I'm not a religious person friends, I'm just not. I do, however, believe to each his own. Religion makes a lot of people really happy and does a lot of good in the world, and I'm all for that. But I do not support bringing others down. I do not believe in judging other people, by me or by any other human. I am as wonderfully (and awfully) made as each and every person. 

I'm also not a confrontational person, so I took a deep breath and pretty much tuned out of their conversation at this point. But not before hearing a snippet about "God's wrath smiting Florida". 


What I find the most shocking out of all of this? How commonplace this is becoming.

I'm sorry, but I will never, ever, EVER be desensitized to the amount of violence in this country, in the world. Each mass shooting is worse than the last, as if there is some sort of agreement among these criminals that causes them to plan events even more catastrophic than the last. But what's worse is the lips-service we give these events. We all shake our heads and cluck our tongues, denouncing terrorists as "crazy" and "disgusting". We put on our sad faces for a day and shed a tear. Then, we forget all about it. Oh, and if a shooting doesn't kill and injure more people than the last big one, well, it might not even get mentioned at all. Or maybe we have one of those magical moments of silence. Because all of the world's problems can be fixed with silence, haven't you heard? My point is that we all say this stuff is bad with our mouths, but we obviously feel like it could never touch any one of us as individuals. I truly believe that must be what people think. People that think that AR-15's should be on the street and in the hands of civilians obviously feel that they would never be threatened by someone that is mentally ill, suffering from hallucinations, and packing a semi-automatic weapon. 

Oh, what? Are you asking yourself if you opened the right blog this morning? You did click on a food one, correct? 

Ok, so I'm still a little upset about the events that took place over the weekend. It's just heartbreaking. and it feels like there's no end in sight.  So, I'll get down off the soapbox and get back to talking about what I know best- food! And one last thing before I shift topics- I'm not a crazy anti-2nd amendment person. I'm fine with a small handgun for protection or a rifle for hunting. I am, however, pro-reform and against any kind of assault weapon. I'm sorry, but some people should not have guns. Just, no. It's common sense.

So, arancini! Arancini is an Italian street food, basically amounting to cheesy fried risotto balls smothered in homemade marinara. Can I get a hells YEAH?

This is the perfect vehicle for leftover risotto. Risotto's usually yield a large batch and this is my go-to use for the surplus. I used my 3-Cheese Risotto for this batch. Oh yes, there was a reason I just posted my 3-Cheese Risotto recipe ;-)

It's best to use cold risotto for this recipe. The cold cheesy sauce is the perfect binder for the balls. 

Dip them in egg, followed by panko. Pop these suckers in hot oil, and you are good to go!

The outside gets all crispy and the inside gets all hot and cheesy. Seriously delicious friends.

Heat up some marinara to dip them in, and ooh child. You'll be one happy camper!

Another note about arancini- This recipe makes a big batch. About 20 balls. I found the leftovers (the leftovers of the leftovers, ha!) were really good just reheated in the oven. I set the oven to 425º, put the arancini on my pizza stone, and baked for 7-8 minutes. Like brand-new! 

All right y'all. I'm gonna leave you here to look at pretty pictures of delicious Italian street food, and go curl up with a book. The world might suck sometimes, but at least I have arancini in the fridge and a red-hot read on the nightstand :-)

Finally, I'm sorry if any of my opinions may have offended you in this post, but every once in awhile a food blogger must get something off their chests. I hope we can all agree to disagree. Have a great day everyone!

Ingredients (makes ~20 balls):

~3 cups leftover risotto (see below for yummy risotto recipes to use for this recipe!)
canola oil
2 eggs
2 cups panko

serve with Homemade Marinara (sub your favorite store version!)


1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Using a 2-tbsp cookie scoop, scoop leftover risotto and roll into balls. Place rolled balls on parchment paper.
2. Pour canola oil into a large wide-sided pan until it's about 1 inch deep. Heat until hot over medium-high heat.
3. Place 2 eggs in small bowl, and whisk to break them up.
4. Place panko in shallow dish.
5. Dredge each arancini into egg, letting the excess drip off. Dredge them in the panko. Place panko-coated balls into hot oil. The oil should come about halfway up the ball. Fry for 1 minute, then flip the arancini. I cooked 4-5 arancini at one time in the pan. Once fried, remove arancini to a cooling rack placed over paper towels (to absorb the oil). Repeat process until you've fried all the arancini. 
6. Heat marinara, and serve with arancini. 

Try any one of these risotto's for the arancini!


  1. Best post EVER! Great job and well written as well. Thanks Jess for being open and unafraid to express your feelings.

    1. Thank you Padre! :-) I was a little nervous upon posting, but I'm feeling better after a genuinely positive response. A little bit of the sensitive artist, I am :-)

  2. Yes to everything! Yes to barely being able to bite my tongue when people say hateful things! Yes to common sense! Yes to rice balls! It really bothers me how accepting our society seems to be of hate speech towards whole groups of people. It especially gets my goat when people are casting such hateful judgments in the name of religion or patriotism, when I am sure that both are supposedly founded in ideas of acceptance.

    1. I agree with you 100%! Hate speech is not ok with me. There are words I don't allow to be said around me, and they aren't curse words either. I wish people could see that everyone is different in many ways but we are all just people and we need to be accepting of that.

      Hope you are having a great Father's Day weekend Carlee! :-)

  3. Great post about the recent events and good food.

    Enjoy the rest of your week ~ FlowerLady

    1. Thank you FlowerLady! I hope you are having a great weekend! :-)

  4. Well said!!!

    Can you freeze the arancini balls? There's just two of us and we'd be eating these for days.

    1. Hi Anne! You can absolutely freeze these! After preparing, I would just freeze them as is. To reheat, heat oven to 425º. Heat aranacini on a pizza stone, or cookie sheet for probably 10 minutes or until warmed through. I think they'd taste good as new!

      Thanks for stopping by Anne, I hope you are having a great weekend! :-)

  5. Jess, I give you so much credit for keeping as calm as you did while that woman spewed her hateful words. I don't know if I could have. You see, one of my friend's daughter and her partner live where that horrible shooting took place and they frequent that nightclub, having a fun night out with their friends. They were not there that night, but many of their friends were and although those friends all survived, they witnessed the horror of it all and saw some of their friends killed. I also have friends and relatives that are gay and I love them dearly. I am a Christian and I try to live my life by showing God's love to others. As a believer, I also believe that God is grieving the loss of these precious people.

    1. I appreciate your words Debbie. My mother-in-law is like you, she is one of the few people I know who practices what she preaches. She has one of the kindest hearts of anyone I know, and I have so much respect for her because of it. She was horrified when I told her about the grocery store, she even teared up a bit.

      I think a lot of people need lessons in compassion.

      Hope you are having a great weekend Debbie! :-)

  6. You just keep doing and saying what you know is right! If people don't like what you have to say on YOUR blog, no one is forcing them to read it. Great recipe!!

    1. Thanks Wanda!! :-)

      Hope you are having a great weekend!

  7. Kentucky is very close to Oklahoma in the way it thinks for the most part. But, I've lived her for most of my life meaning that most people know my thoughts on subjects like this and they prefer to keep their comments to themselves instead of having to deal with me! :)

    I have been dying to try arancini but I am so unsure about frying rice like that. Yours looks delicious so I'm going to give it a go - thanks for a great recipe!

    1. I hear ya Kelli. My aunt lives in Wichita, and deals with similar situations. It's sad. People that know me would never say anything like that around me :-)

      I've never had a problem frying risotto rice. As long as it's cold, the risotto binds well. I hope you enjoy the recipe Kelli!


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