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Serves : MAKES 18 RICE BALLS

My Calabrian grandmother always used plain white rice to make her incredible arancini (rice balls), but I prefer to cook with plump arborio because I think it makes the insides creamier.
—Grace Parisi, test kitchen associate Plus: More Vegetable Recipes and Tips

How to Make It

Step 1    

Bring the chicken stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan; keep warm.

Step 2    

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the shallots and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for 4 minutes.

Step 3    

Add 1 cup of the stock to the pan and cook, stirring gently, until all the stock is absorbed. Add the remaining stock, 1/2 cup at a time, and cook, stirring gently, until the rice is al dente, about 25 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.

Step 4    

Transfer the risotto to a heatproof bowl and let cool for 10 minutes. Stir in the parsley and 1 egg. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the rice and refrigerate the risotto for at least 4 hours or, preferably, overnight.

Step 5    

Line a baking sheet with wax paper. In a shallow bowl, beat the remaining 3 eggs. Put the flour and bread crumbs on separate plates. Season the bread crumbs with salt. Using moistened hands, form 1/4-cup portions of the rice into 2-inch balls. Tuck a piece of mozzarella and a pea in the center of each rice ball and seal any holes. Set the balls on the baking sheet.

Step 6    

Dredge the rice balls in the flour, tapping off any excess. Working with 1 at a time, dip each ball in the egg, then coat with bread crumbs, rolling and pressing it into a compact ball.

Step 7    

Heat 1/2 inch of vegetable oil in a large cast-iron skillet. When the oil is very hot, add all of the rice balls and cook over moderate heat, turning, until golden and crisp all over, about 8 minutes. Drain the balls on paper towels, then transfer to a large platter. Sprinkle the arancini lightly with salt and serve.

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