Arancini typically have a cube of mozzarella nestled in the middle, so that when you bite into them, you hit a delicious, gooey filling. Some have shredded meat or vegetables inside, too.
The basic technique is to mix the rice or risotto with some beaten eggs, maybe other seasonings or grated parmesan, and form it into a ball. You then poke your finger down into it, making a hole for the filling, stick in the cheese (or whatever else you're using), and patch up the hole. Then you roll the arancini in breadcrumbs and pan fry them.
Decadent, no? Martha Stewart serves hers like a main dish, on a plate with marinara sauce. But we could see them being a hit at a cocktail party—think bite-sized balls with toothpicks. We also love the look of the spinach arancini below.
Here are a few recipes:
• Arancini with Marinara Sauce, from Martha Stewart
• Ham and Rice Croquettes, from Gourmet (almost identical to arancini, made with white rice rather than arborio)
• Spinach Arancini, from Michael Chiarello
P.S. You can use leftover bread to make the breadcrumbs.
Related: Five Yummy Finger Foods from Martha Stewart (Check out the Rice Pudding Balls!)