These Cheesy Arancini Rice Balls are an Italian street food classic, but made in the air fryer or baked instead of deep fried! Stuffed with Spanish Mahon cheese and served with simple marinara, you’re going to have a hard time stopping at just a few!
Oh wow, so buh-bye December. Adios 2018. Later, holidays.
I know the days are shorter in the winter, but hot damn is it just me or did time completely fly by after Halloween?
The holidays are my favorite time of year, and I’m used to them kind of melding together. I really do hate how quickly they go by, though.
I’ve got a couple more recipes to share before the new year, and they’re absolutely perfect for your upcoming festivities!
JUST TAKE ME TO THE CHEESY ARANCINI ALREADY!
If you’d rather skip my (pretty darn helpful) tips and tricks, essential cooking info, and similar recipe ideas – and get straight to this deliciously easy rice balls recipe, just scroll right on down to the bottom of the page where you can find the printable recipe card!
So, I don’t know if you knew this, but 2018 was a pretty big year for me.
- I celebrated my first full year as a full-time food blogger/entrepreneur.
- I wrote and published a cookbook.
- My best friend Lara and I started a photography business together.
That may not seem like too much, but it’s been the biggest set of changes since I started blogging! With the way the last 6 months have gone, and the motivation I have from it, I can only imagine how exciting the new year will be.
One of the recipes in that cookbook is one of my very favorite side dishes in the world – Mushroom Risotto. I swear, if I didn’t try to limit starches with dinner to twice a week, I would make it every single night.
Risotto is notorious for being a finicky recipe to master – but making it in your Instant Pot is practically foolproof.
There’s no need to worry about stirring in the hot broth little by little, or over- or undercooking the rice. The pressure cooker does it for you and in half the time it takes on your stove!
These arancini rice balls are made with the leftovers from a simple cheesy risotto, including a couple cups of delicious Mahón-Menorca cheese, direct from the caves of Spain.
What Is Arancini?
Arancini are stuffed rice balls that are coated in bread crumbs, then cooked. Traditionally, these Sicilian rice balls are deep fried, but this recipe is written for an air fryer or oven, cutting down on calories a bit for your New Year’s resolutions!
Arancini are often made al ragù – filled with a meaty sauce. They can also be filled with sauteed vegetables, nuts, or chunks of cheese, much like this version.
How To Make Rice Balls
- First, preheat an air fryer or oven to 400 degrees F.
- Next, beat two eggs in a large bowl, then stir in 2 cups cooled risotto, ½ cup grated cured Mahón-Menorca cheese, and 2/3 cup breadcrumbs. Shape the mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls.
- Place the remaining breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl and set aside.
- Then, press a finger into the center of each rice ball, then fill with some of the remaining Mahón-Menorca cheese. Pinch the rice around the filling to enclose.
- Roll the balls in the breadcrumbs and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Working in batches, place the arancini in the air fryer in a single layer and cook until golden brown and crispy, about 10-15 minutes (if baking in oven, 20-25 minutes).
- Transfer the rice balls to a plate and season with salt and pepper, a sprinkle of additional cheese, and chopped parsley. Serve with marinara sauce.
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Cheesy Arancini Rice Balls
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup onion chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 cup arborio rice
- ½ cup sherry wine
- 2 cups chicken broth
- ½ teaspoon salt plus more to taste
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped; plus more for serving
- 1 ½ cups cured Mahon cheese grated, divided; plus more for serving
- Black pepper
- 2 large eggs
- 1 ½ cups breadcrumbs divided
Instant Pot Risotto
- Set Instant Pot to Saute, then heat oil until display reads HOT. Add onions and garlic and cook for 3 minutes, stirring often, until translucent.
- Add the rice and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring often, until the rice kernel edges start to become translucent.
- Add the wine and cook, stirring, until the wine has almost fully evaporated, about 2 minutes.
- Add the chicken broth, salt, and rosemary. Make sure all ingredients are submerged.
- Secure the lid and select Manual, cooking on high pressure for 5 minutes. Perform a quick pressure release at the end of the cook time. Carefully remove the lid.
- Remove the rosemary spring, then stir in the butter, parsley, and 1/2 cup Mahon cheese. Season with salt and black pepper, if desired. Set aside remaining Mahon cheese in two bowls.
- Spread finished risotto on a parchment-lined baking sheet and let cool completely.
- Preheat an air fryer (or oven) to 400 degrees F. (The arancini can also be fried in oil if desired.)
- Beat the eggs in a large bowl, then stir in the cooled rice, 1/2 cup Mahon cheese, and 2/3 cup breadcrumbs. Shape the mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls.
- Place the remaining breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl. Press your finger into the center of each rice ball, then fill with some of the remaining Mahon cheese. Pinch the rice around the filling to enclose. Roll the balls in the breadcrumbs and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Working in batches, place the arancini in the air fryer in a single layer and cook until golden brown and crispy, about 10-15 minutes (if baking in oven, 20-25 minutes). Transfer to a plate and season with salt and pepper, a sprinkle of additional cheese, and chopped parsley. Serve with marinara sauce.