Food beauty of Cheesy Arancini, as seen on Mary Makes It Easy, Season 1.
Recipe courtesy of Mary Berg

Cheesy Arancini

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 15 min (includes chilling time)
  • Active: 1 hr 5 min
  • Yield: 3 to 6 servings
Gooey, cheesy rice enclosed in golden crunchy crumb. Need we say more? Mary Berg gives us another reason to love cheese with these delicious cheesy arancini served with her homemade classic risotto. The best part about this dish? These tasty fried bites are just as good made-ahead and reheated.


Mary's Basic Risotto:


  1. Set out a small baking sheet or dinner plate and have some paper towel close at hand. Fill a small bowl with tap water and set it on your workstation.
  2. Place the flour in one small mixing bowl, the beaten egg in another and the Italian seasoning and salt in the third. If using panko, place it into a small food processor or a heavy-duty zip-top bag and pulse or crush into a slightly finer crumb. Add the breadcrumbs to the Italian seasoning and salt and mix well to combine.
  3. Lightly wet your hands with some of the tap water and scoop 1/4 cup of the prepared risotto into your hands. Flatten the risotto slightly and place a cube of mozzarella in the center. Wrap and pinch the risotto around the cheese to form a ball and fully enclose the cheese. Place the arancini ball onto the baking sheet or plate and continue with remaining risotto and cheese.
  4. Working with one at a time, toss the arancini in the flour followed by the egg, then roll in the breadcrumb mixture. Place back onto the baking sheet. Chill for 10 minutes.
  5. In a deep-sided, heavy-bottomed pan, heat 3 inches of canola oil over medium heat until it reaches 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) or a small sprinkling of breadcrumbs into the oil bubbles and browns in about 5 to 10 seconds. Fry the arancini until deeply golden brown all around, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the oil onto a sheet of paper towel and season immediately with the flaky sea salt. Quickly fry the whole sage leaves by adding to the hot oil for approximately 10 seconds, just until crisp, then drain on paper towel.
  6. Serve hot as is or with prepared tomato sauce, fried sage leaves and Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Mary's Basic Risotto:

  1. Heat the broth over low in a medium saucepan.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the oil. Add the shallots, season with salt and cook just until translucent and lightly golden around the edges, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add in the arborio rice and cook for 1 minute while stirring continuously to toast the rice.
  3. Turn the heat down to medium low and add in the white wine. Stir until almost all of the wine has been absorbed then start adding the warm broth about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition and leaving it to bubble away until absorbed before adding and stirring in the next 1/2 cup of broth.
  4. Once the rice is tender, stir in the cheese, butter, if using, season with salt and black pepper and stir through any mix-ins to heat through. Serve immediately.
  5. Place any leftovers in a sealed container for up to 3 days to use for arancini.