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This recipe for arancini {fried risotto balls} is a take on classic french onion soup! Leftover balls of risotto stuffed with caramelized onions and gruyere are served with a french onion soup reduction for dipping! These arancini are crispy, cheesy and make the perfect snack or appetizer!

20140802-IMG_1110There are some culinary first time experiences you just remember. Not all good, unfortunately. But the good ones, they are unforgettable. The memory evokes vivid, detailed images and awakens your taste buds to the point you can almost taste the details at just the sheer thought.

20140730-IMG_0742-2I am thankful to have a lot of those types of memories. My first taste of beluga caviar, freshly shaved black truffles, my first bite of chateaubriand (forever ruined me because now I get constant cravings for buttery rare perfection chateu.), oyster mignonette, crispy chicken liver…

20140730-IMG_0754-2I could even tell you what I was wearing when I experienced all these culinary first time indulgent pleasures. These wonderful foodie memories lead me to these golden brown, fried to crispy deliciousness, beauties – Arancini.

20140730-IMG_0769-2I must admit, I experienced these for the first time, entirely too late in life. I was with my wonderful mother (Hi Da Mama!) at a weekend long cooking seminar at the Ritz Carlton. Yes, hard life… I know, I know. I am using “seminar” pretty loosely. We did cook a lot, with wonderful private instruction in their enormous kitchen. Right after mimosas, a breakfast selection fit for a King Queen, and plenty of downtime to lounge at the pool or in the VIP penthouse suite nosing on white chocolate covered strawberries and sipping on champagne.

20140730-IMG_0784-2The Ritz Carlton cooking class is actually where I finally decided I was going to bite the bullet, take out a student loan, and go back to college to get my culinary arts degree at Le Cordon Bleu. For those of you who don’t know me personally, but have heard me talk very highly about FSU… I attended and graduated from there with a psychology degree prior to culinary school. But that is another story for another day.

20140730-IMG_0789So back to these love at first crispy, crunchy exterior and creamy, luscious interior bite of heavenly morsels known as Arancini. These babies had me at Hello. Then they made me wonder “where the heck have YOU been all my life!??”20140730-IMG_0814
At the Ritz, we made ours stuffed with truffle risotto and parmesan shavings. Then we finished them off with a drizzle of real truffle oil. The fancy, expensive, REAL kind of truffle oil. None of that infused cheap stuff… you know the kind I use in my kitchen and you probably have in yours… and I am totally NOT ashamed to admit I love my infused kind of truffle oil! If you have some and think it’s the real deal, go check… I’d be willing to bet money you are using the imposter thinking you are using the real stuff. Well, unless you are rich… then more power to you and feel free to send me some!

The Arancini recipe I’m sharing with you all today is equally as good as the Ritz Carlton’s, if I do say so myself. But, can you really go wrong with stuffed and fried balls of creamy risotto? Yeah, I don’t think so.

20140730-IMG_0838Not only do these give the Ritz a run for their money in the taste department, they are also special. “Why”, you ask? They are special because they were inspired by one of my favorite people (when he is behaving and especially when he is washing all the dishes that are made dirty by posts for this site), Boy.

20140730-IMG_0862Boy has an obsession with French onion soup. Who can blame him? Caramelized onions bathed in a rich broth of red wine, thyme, and garlic. Then topped with a slice of crusty bread with melted gruyere cheese… what’s not to love??? It is the ultimate comfort food in a bowl.

So I decided, why not take all that rich, lovely, goodness and turn it into a fried ball of French onion soup arancini love? I don’t give myself props often, but this… This. Is. AWESOME. The arancini are stuffed with caramelized onions and cubes of gruyere, then served with a creamy French onion soup-esque reduction as a dipping sauce.20140802-IMG_0938Trust me when I say you will score MAJOR points in your household if you make these. And, trust me when I also say that they will literally fly off the plate… if they even make it to a serving plate.

With that said, I highly recommend you make triple what you think you will need. So, go put on your elastic waistband jeans (or sweatpants) and indulge with me. You won’t regret it.


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French Onion Soup Arancini

4 from 1 vote
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 12
This recipe for arancini {fried risotto balls} is a take on classic french onion soup! Leftover balls of risotto stuffed with caramelized onions and gruyere are served with a french onion soup reduction for dipping! These arancini are crispy, cheesy and make the perfect snack or appetizer!



  • For the Caramelized Onion Stuffing-
  • Melt the butter in a skillet, wok or wide-medium sized sauce pan over medium low heat.
  • Add the onions, bay leaf, thyme and sugar. Season generously with salt and pepper to taste. Stir to coat the onions thoroughly in butter.
  • Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are caramelized, about 30-40 minutes.
  • Stir in the garlic and cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds – 1 minute.
  • Increase the heat to medium high. Add in the wine and simmer until all of the wine has evaporated, about 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently and using the edge of your spoon to slightly break up onions.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Discard the bay leaf and adjust seasoning according to taste. Transfer the onions to a bowl and set aside in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to allow to cool completely.
  • Forming and Cooking the Arancini-
  • Place all the arancini ingredients together in a medium sized mixing bowl and stir well to combine.
  • Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with a piece of parchment paper.
  • Place 1-1 ½ tablespoons of the risotto in the palm of your hand. Make a small indentation in the center of the rice. Place about 1 teaspoon of the onion filling mixture into the center and top with 1 cube of cheese.
  • Add another tablespoon of risotto mixture on top to form a “lid”.
  • Gently squeeze together top and bottom of risotto around the filling to enclose it, and pat/roll the rice into a ball.
  • Repeat with the remaining rice and filling.
  • Roll the arancini balls in panko bread crumbs.
  • Transfer formed and coated arancini on prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all of your risotto is used up.
  • Place the sheet pan of arancini in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, to allow to set. (Alternatively, if you want to prepare them in advance, they can be stored, covered with plastic wrap, overnight in the fridge.)
  • When you are ready to fry, preheat your oven to 200 degrees (to hold the arancini)
  • Heat a medium saucepan, or wok, with 2 inches of peanut (or canola) oil to 350-375°F over medium heat. (If you do not have a candy thermometer to test if oil is hot enough: add a small amount of panko, or a cube of bread, to the oil, they should brown in about 2 minutes)
  • Set a rack over a large baking sheet to hold the cooked arancini.
  • Deep-fry the arancini, in batches of 3-4 at a time (don’t overcrowd the pan) until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes, turning frequently.
  • With a slotted spoon, transfer the arancini to the rack to drain while you fry the rest. Season with salt while they are hot. Keep the seasoned, fried arancini warm in the oven.
  • Serve the arancini hot or warm with Onion Au Jus Dipping sauce. Garnish with Gruyere cheese and chives (optional).
  • To make the French Onion Soup Cream Sauce-
  • Heat a small saucepan over medium high heat.
  • Add onions, garlic, thyme, onion powder and beef stock. Season with salt and pepper
  • Bring to a boil. Cook until reduced by ½, about 6-8 minutes.
  • Add the red wine, bring back up to a boil. Cook until reduced by ½ again, another 6-8 minutes.
  • Add the cornstarch/water mixture. Continue to boil for 2-3 minutes, or until thickened.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in ½ and ½. Simmer until desired thickness is achieved, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Using an immersion blender, or a standing blender, puree the sauce. (this is optional, but recommended to create a creamy, rich sauce)
  • Cover and set aside while you fry the arancini.


*Rolling tip: keep a bowl of water close by while forming your arancini to dampen your hands, this will help prevent the rice from sticking to you quite as much.
*If you are using a different cooked risotto, stir in 1 ½ TBS thinly sliced chives and ¼ cup Champagne.
*To make ahead: The stuffed and formed arancini (not yet breaded in panko) can be refrigerated overnight.
*To store: The fried arancini can be refrigerated overnight and reheated in the 350 degree oven, until warmed throughout, about 10-15 minutes.


Calories: 111kcal    Carbohydrates: 2g    Protein: 3g    Fat: 8g    Saturated Fat: 5g    Cholesterol: 39mg    Sodium: 174mg    Potassium: 64mg    Vitamin A: 280IU    Vitamin C: 1.5mg    Calcium: 91mg    Iron: 0.2mg

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