We have been doing baby-led weaning for a few months now and it is going really well but I do struggle with the major clean up after every meal. Some days I really can’t face it so deliberately prepare finger foods to keep the mess to a minimum. Last week I decided to try baked arancini (risotto balls).
Arancini are risotto balls coated in breadcrumbs and deep fried, they are usually stuffed with ragu, mozzarella and peas. This adaptation is baked, instead of fried, and has no extra stuffing.
Baked risotto balls are relatively quick and easy to put together (if you have already made and chilled the risotto). I would usually make this recipe with leftover risotto rather than making the risotto, cooling it and then preparing the balls on the same day. That would just be too much for me!
I used my Vegetable Risotto Recipe for this post but any risotto recipe can be used. If you have got a recipe that your kids love then use that one. Just make sure your risotto is made with an Italian variety of rice that has the correct starches to produces a creamy texture when cooked. Arborio, Vialone Nano and Carnaroli are the most common varieties.
NOTE: If serving to a baby make sure the risotto is made using homemade stock or baby stock/low salt stock.
This is a great recipe to get your kids involved in the kitchen. Finn (3) was given the task of forming balls. He struggled to coat and dip them, so I took over that task, but older kids would manage no problem.
I dipped the rice balls in flour then egg and finally rolled them in breadcrumbs. You can really make them any size you desire, ours were roughly one and a half tablespoons each and I made 12 balls from 3 cups of cooked risotto.
I have made baked arancini with a range of breadcrumbs. Fresh, dried and panko. My personal favourite, although not very Italian, is Panko breadcrumbs. It is hard to achieve the same delicious crunchy shell, that frying achieves, when you are baking but panko gives the best results.
TIP: Spray your breadcrumbs with oil and pop them in the oven for 5-10 mins before you coat your balls. Although not necessary for taste, doing this will give your breadcrumbs a head start in the browning process and will make your arancini more visually like the fried version.
These baked risotto balls really are delicious and approved by both Finn and Rory. I loved that there isn’t tiny pieces of rice to clean up from the high chair, floor, walls, Rory’s hair, clothes…..
Risotto formed into balls, coated in breadcrumbs and baked.
- 600g (3 cups) Cooked and Chilled Risotto *SEE NOTE 1
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 35g (1/4 cup) flour
- 80g (1 1/2 cups) Panko Breadcrumbs *SEE NOTE 2
Pre heat oven to 180c / 350F and line baking tray with baking paper / silicon mat.
OPTIONAL (to achieve a more golden look to your balls) Place breadcrumbs on a baking tray, spray with oil and bake on the top shelf for around 5 - 10 mins (until golden)
- Place flour in a dish, beaten egg in another and the breadcrumbs on a flat plate.
Roll risotto into balls (mine were approx. 1 1/2 tbsp each)
- Roll each ball into the flour then dip into the egg and finally coat with the breadcrumbs.
Place on baking tray, lightly spray with olive oil and cook until golden and heated though out. (Approx. 20 mins)
Make sure to your risotto is properly chilled and was made with an Italian variety of rice that has the correct starches to produces a creamy texture when cooked. Arborio, Vialone Nano and Carnaroli are the most common varieties.
If serving to a baby make sure the risotto was made using homemade stock or baby stock/low salt stock.
- I personally feel panko breadcrumbs produce the best result in this recipe. However you can substitute them with dried breadcrumbs.
This post was updated January 2018 with some new pictures and with more detail added to the recipe.