Spinach Arancini

    5 hours

    I used to live in Sicily, and these were a favourite of mine! 'Arancini' means 'Little Oranges' in Italian, named so because the little breaded rice balls resemble small oranges so much. This version is a delightful combination of white cheese and spinach. We love it! This can be made the night or a couple of days ahead of time, and cooked at the last minute for a surprising treat for guests. Some people enjoy dipping them into Marinara or sour cream based dips. Enjoy!

    17 people made this

    Serves: 10 

    • 4 cups (1litre) chicken stock
    • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
    • 1 1/2 cups (300g) Arborio risotto rice
    • 1 pinch sea salt and pepper to taste
    • 1/4 cup (60ml) extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 medium onion, minced
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 cup (250ml) white wine
    • 2 cups chopped fresh spinach
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 1 1/2 cups (120g) grated Parmesan cheese
    • 230g mozzarella cheese, cut into 1.5cm cubes
    • 2 cups (250g) plain flour
    • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
    • 2 cups (200g) seasoned bread crumbs
    • 1 litre vegetable oil for deep frying

    Prep:30min  ›  Cook:30min  ›  Extra time:4hr chilling  ›  Ready in:5hr 

    1. Bring 4 cups chicken stock and saffron threads to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Stir in Arborio rice, return to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the rice is tender, yet still a little firm, about 16 minutes.
    2. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in onion, and cook for one minute, then stir in garlic, and continue cooking until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in wine, spinach, and butter, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and fold in cooked rice and Parmesan cheese; cook a few minutes until the mixture is a little stiff. Spread onto a baking tray, and cool in the refrigerator until completely cold, 4 hours to overnight.
    3. Once the rice mixture has cooled, form the arancini by enclosing a cube of mozzarella cheese in about 3 tablespoons of the rice to form a 1 inch ball; set aside. When you have finished making the balls, place flour, eggs, and bread crumbs into separate, shallow bowls. One-by-one, gently roll the arancini in the flour to coat, then shake off excess. Dip into beaten egg, then roll in bread crumbs; set aside.
    4. Heat the oil in a deep-fryer or electric skillet to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
    5. Deep fry the arancini 5 or 6 at a time in the hot oil until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Be sure to roll the arancini around with a metal spoon as they cook so they are evenly browned on all sides. Drain on paper towels, and serve hot.

    The nutrition data for this recipe includes information for the full amount of the breading ingredients. The actual amount consumed will vary. We have determined the nutritional value of oil for frying based on a retention value of 10% after cooking. The exact amount may vary depending on cook time and temperature, ingredient density, and the specific type of oil used.

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    Reviews in English (16)


    Rather than fry such a lovely side dish, I baked these at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Worked beautifully. These are quite time-consuming, and would work well to prepare the "balls" ahead of time, then bake when ready -- would be GREAT at for a dinner party. One time-saver: I stuck the rice mixture in the freezer for 10 minutes rather than chilling it overnight.  -  22 May 2010  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)


    Deelish! The only things I did differently were to omit the saffron (as I had none on hand) and used extra virgin olive oil for the frying insteead of regular vegetable oil. I probably used more spinach than specified, too. But it came out wonderful. These were gobbled up at a drink/appetizer party I had recently. Great recipe so thanks to a fellow Albuquerquean!  -  15 Oct 2007  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)


    I made this for a potluck and it was a HIT! I fried them the night before, and then reheated them in the oven until warm, and served with marinara sauce. Everyone loved them, including my picky sister!I might substitute water for the wine next time, and I would only use about 1/2 of an onion, because the flavors came off pretty strong, but it was still yummy.  -  03 Dec 2007  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)