Arancini in Balsamic Tomato Sauce

Since there were only two of us eating the pesto risotto, we had leftovers. We used those leftovers to make Arancini—fried risotto balls. They lost a lot of the pesto flavor, but they were delicious nonetheless.

Besides being delicious, they were fairly simple to make. However, please be aware that these balls of fried goodness are NOT the healthiest option out there. Did we mention that there’s mozzarella cheese in the middle? Because there is. And it’s awesome…

We started off by taking a small handful of the leftover risotto (about the size of a golf ball) and forming it into a patty. We placed a cube of the mozzarella cheese in the middle, and then rolled it into a ball. We repeated this until we ran out of risotto.

Afterwards, we heated up the oil and, once it was hot enough, we placed the first risotto ball into the pan and hoped for the best!

Unfortunately, the first ball did not live up to our expectations. It fell apart in the oil and was unsalvageable at that point.

After thinking it over a bit, we decided to try rolling one of the balls in flour prior to frying it. Luckily our second attempt worked out well and the risotto balls stayed in tact! We placed them on a plate covered with tomato sauce and dollops of pesto, waited for them to cool and then, well, we stuffed our faces.


Amy’s Note: The way we served them certainly looked very nice. However, I felt that the arancini started to get a bit soggy after sitting in the tomato sauce for a while. Next time, I would try leaving the sauce separate. Rafi and I also agreed that the pesto didn’t work too well with the arancini. Next time we’re sticking to a red sauce!

Oh yeah, and there definitely WILL be a next time.

Rafi’s Note: Amy’s idea to roll the arancini in flour did the trick, but if we prepare for it a little more next time, I think we’ll try some bread crumbs to give it a rougher texture that will hold more sauce.

Recipe (1 hour, serves 2-4)


4 cloves garlic

¼ onion

¼ cup olive oil

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 Tbsp red wine

1 8 oz can tomato sauce

Basil, Oregano, Thyme, Sage, Cayenne pepper

This is my standard tomato sauce for most pasta: spaghetti squash, penne, ziti or lasagna, etc… Most of the time I’ll use a can of diced tomatoes and a can of tomato sauce without upping the other ingredients too much, but this recipe makes a good sauce and enough for 2-3 for a basic meal. I went with the sauce instead of diced tomatoes since it was for dipping.

Small dice (that’s 1/4″ cubes) the garlic and onion. Sauté these on medium heat. It’s ok to let the garlic brown a LITTLE bit, but don’t let it fry or burn. When it starts to brown a bit, add the herbs and spices. just a dash of cayenne and about a 1/4 tsp of the others. Mix and add the balsamic vinegar and red wine. I let this reduce by about half, and then add the tomato sauce. Cover and let it simmer on a very low heat for at least 15 minutes, but up to 45 will give you a much more flavorful sauce.


2 cups Risotto

1 cup flour

4 oz mozzarella

oil for frying