Butternut Squash Arancini / by Anne

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Unbelievable! I wrote this post on the evening of November 24.  I was looking for this recipe on my site and couldn't find it...sure enough, there it was in "drafts" rather than "published."  Was it that late at night when I wrote this?  Anyway, here is the post:

Arancini (risotto fritters),  translates from Italian as "little oranges," since these little fried risotto balls do resemble oranges.  Arancini originated in Sicily and are usually filled with meat or tomato sauce, peas, or mozzarella. 

The Romans have a similar version of these croquettes, called Suppli al Telefono (which I believe translates to "telephone wires" or "on the phone"), which adorably refers to the strings of melted cheese that connect the two halves of the fritter when it is cut or bitten in half.   As the name indicates, Roman Suppli al Telefono are usually filled with cheese. 

These arancini are a non-traditional recipe, made with butternut squash risotto and stuffed with Pecorino Toscano, which is a creamy cheese.  I think a mild mozzarella would be fine as well.

Butternut Squash Arancini

Ingredients:

  • One recipe of risotto (butternut squash or other kinds work as well), cooled
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 T milk
  • 4 oz Pecorino Toscano (NOT Pecorino Romano. Choose a creamy cheese.  Mozzarella is fine)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups dry bread crumbs
  • 3 cups vegetable oil for frying

Directions:

  1. Cube the cheese into 3/4 inch chunks.  In a small bowl, beat two eggs in with the milk.
  2. Stir the third egg into the cooled risotto.  Roll 2 tablespoons' worth of the risotto mixture in your hands, then with a finger, push a piece of cheese into the center of the ball.  Re-roll the ball around the cheese cube. 
  3. Roll the ball into the flour, coating it lightly.  Drop the ball into the  egg mixture, then roll it in the bread crumbs.  Lay the ball on a cookie sheet or a piece of parchment or wax paper.  Make the rest of the balls, which will give a chance for the first balls to dry out slightly before frying. 
  4. Slowly heat the oil in a medium, deep saucepan to 350˚.  The best temperature to do this is medium-low.  In small batches, fry the balls until they are evenly browned, turning them if necessary.  This will take several minutes.  Test the first ball to make sure you are happy with the interior--the cheese should be well-melted. 
  5. When a fritter is finished, lay it on paper towels to absorb the extra oil. 
  6. These arancini freeze well.  After frying them, lay them on a cookie sheet and put them in the freezer.  After they are well-frozen, seal them in a freezer bag.  To re-heat, place fritters on a cookie sheet in a 350˚ oven.  Bake for about 20 minutes.  Alternatively, you can freeze them before frying them as well.