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Sausage-Stuffed Arancini

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Sausage-stuffed arancini with spicy tomato sauce

Yield: approximately 16 rice balls.

3 tablespoons olive oil
½ yellow onion, finely diced
2 cups Arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine, plus more
6 cups chicken stock, vegetable broth, or water, divided and heated
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated, plus more for garnish
1 pound Neese’s Country Sausage
4 large eggs
3 tablespoons water
2 cups flour
1½ cups breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced, for garnish
1 quart canola oil for frying

Spicy Tomato Sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ yellow onion, finely minced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 (28-ounce) can strained tomatoes
Kosher salt

For the arancini: In a heavy-bottomed, 4-quart pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, stirring often with a wooden spoon, about 2 minutes. Add rice and stir to coat with oil. Toast rice until the edges become translucent, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour in the wine and stir well until evaporated.

Add 2 cups of hot stock (or broth or water) and a generous pinch of salt. Stirring constantly over medium heat, cook until almost all the liquid has been absorbed. Add another cup of hot stock, repeating the process until all the stock has been added and the risotto is creamy and tender. This will take about 20 to 25 minutes.

Turn off the heat and add butter and cheese, stirring until melted. Add a splash of white wine and adjust seasoning, as needed. Spread the risotto onto a greased sheet pan and refrigerate until chilled.

In a sauté pan, cook sausage over medium heat until fully cooked, breaking apart as you go. Once cooked, transfer to a sheet pan to cool.

Remove the rice from the refrigerator and shape into 16 1½-inch balls. (Tip: A portion scoop or ice cream scoop works well for shaping.) Create a divot and fill with about a tablespoon of cooked sausage, then seal, removing any holes. Using wet hands will help with the tackiness of the risotto.

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs with 3 tablespoons of water. Place flour and breadcrumbs in two separate bowls. Coat one risotto ball first with the flour, then with egg, and finally with breadcrumbs. Place back on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat this process until all balls have been coated thoroughly.

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven until a thermometer reads 350°. Working in batches, fry the rice balls, turning until golden brown on all sides, about 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels; season with salt.

Serve with spicy tomato sauce and garnish with parsley.

Note: This recipe can easily be halved.

For the spicy tomato sauce: Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook until fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add tomato paste, sugar, paprika, and red pepper flakes; cook, stirring, until sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes.

Add strained tomatoes and season with salt. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce has thickened about 20 to 30 minutes.

Purée if desired. Adjust seasoning to preference.

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This story was published on Oct 11, 2023

Alyssa Wilen

A Charlotte native, Wilen spent more than 12 years in the restaurant industry where she worked her way up to the role of Executive Chef before opening Chef Alyssa's Kitchen in 2013. She teaches award-winning cooking classes, hosts a Saturday brunch, and has created a family dinner meal service.