Arancini à l’Air Fryer

On New Year’s Day, my husband and I each made a list of 20 things we wanted to accomplish in 2020, “20 for ’20” we called it. We also made a list of 20 things we wanted to do for our family or together as a couple. One of our 20 for ‘20 as a couple is to cook a new recipe together every month. We’re big fans of small plate bites and, in the midst of the March 2020 restaurant closures due to the covid-19 pandemic, we found ourselves missing the typical three-course dine-in experience of appetizer, entrée, and dessert. So, we decided to recreate one of our favorite restaurant apps at home – arancini.


My husband found a Food Network recipe, which we modified significantly to fit my vegetarian requirement, our tastes, and to work in our air fryer* vs. frying in oil. Either way, the prep work is a bit extensive, but we had fun with it, taking turns requesting 80s songs from Alexa on our kitchen’s Echo Show. We served with our favorite jarred marinara sauce for dipping.

Ingredients

3 cups vegetable broth

1 cup arborio rice

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (2 ounces)1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (separate into ½ cup portions), plus 2 tablespoons for garnish

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups Panko breadcrumbs

Freshly ground coarse sea salt

Fresh basil

Instructions

Bring the broth and 1/4 teaspoon salt to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the rice, reduce the heat to low and simmer until tender, about 20-25 minutes. While the rice cooks, you may want to knock out some of the additional prep work, or you can rock out to an impromptu dance party. Knock out, rock out - you decide. Spread the cooked rice on a parchment paper and let cool completely.

Combine the mozzarella, ½ cup of Parmesan, and parsley in a bowl; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, then stir in the cooled rice, the other ½ cup of Parmesan and 2/3 cup breadcrumbs. Shape the mixture into 12 two-inch balls.

Pour the remaining breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl. Press your finger into the center of each rice ball, insert 2 teaspoons of the cheese/parsley mixture, then pinch the rice around the filling to enclose. Roll the balls in the breadcrumbs, season with salt, and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Loosely cover and refrigerate, at least 1 hour or overnight. (If refrigerating overnight, roll in more breadcrumbs before air frying.)

Set air fryer temperature to 350F. Working in batches, air fry the rice balls for about 4 minutes. Open the fryer drawer, turn rice balls, air fry for an additional 4 minutes or so, until golden brown or the length of “Don’t You Forget About Me” by Simple Minds. Garnish with fresh basil and grated Parmesan cheese.

* Philips TurboStar Technology Airfryer, Digital Interface, 1.8lb/2.75qt (HD9641/96)

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