Mozzarella Arancini with Spicy Marinara Sauce

I’m visiting Italy again this summer and absolutely love the food, so today I’m showing you how to make these delicious risotto balls. These are perfect to make if you have some leftover risotto bianco (white risotto) on hand. Arancini are becoming ever so popular on many restaurant menus lately and they really transform day old leftover risotto. Traditionally deep-fried, for this recipe I like to bake them instead. I serve these crispy, crunchy risotto balls with my favourite and own recipe for spicy tomato sauce. The cheesiness and spicy tomato flavour works really well together.

arancini simply baked

arancini baked

Ingredients –

Arancini – 

300g day-old leftover white risotto (risotto bianco)

4 tablespoons parmesan cheese, freshly grated

250g fine breadcrumbs

2 medium free-range eggs

Snall bunch fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

10-12 small cubes mozzarella

Spicy Marinara Sauce –

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small white onion, finely diced

Salt and black pepper, to taste

1 clove of garlic, finely minced

1 small red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

Good sprinkle of each, dried oregano, basil, parsley and thyme

2 tablespoons tomato puree

1 x 400g can chopped Italian tomatoes+ half the can of water

Juice of 1 small lemon


To make Arancini you will need to prepare a risotto base. The above picture shows the risotto base cooling on a tray before shaping into the balls. The cooling process is really important because the risotto needs to be really dry to shape and hold its shape.


Before and after baking…look how crispy these Arancini are! 

before and after baking


1. Place the risotto in a large bowl. Add 150g of the breadcrumbs, the egg, season and then add the parmesan and parsley. Mix to just combine.

2. Take approx. a golf-ball size amount of the risotto mix and shape. Make a deep groove in the ball and then place a piece of mozzarella inside the centre. Shape the risotto round the mozzarella, making sure you completely incase it! Repeat with the remaining ingredients until you have 10-12 large risotto balls in total.

2. Beat the remaining egg in a small bowl and place the remaining breadcrumbs into another bowl. Dip the risotto balls into the eggs, then roll in the breadcrumbs to coat. Place straight onto a lined baking tray, then put in the fridge for 20 minutes to chill. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Fan/200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. After the risotto balls have chilled bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until crispy and nice and golden. These are best served warm with the dipping sauce, and I like to add some lemon wedges for an extra touch.

To make the sauce: Gently heat the oil in a pan. Sautee the onion for 3-4 minutes or until soft. Then add the garlic, chilli and all the herbs. Cook for 2 minutes until all the spices smell fragrant. Then add the puree and mix into the onion and herb mixture. Now add the chopped tomatoes, water and lemon juice and stir in completely. Bring up to the boil, then turn the heat down to low and simmer for an hour. After an hour the sauce should be glossy and quite thick. The sauce will keep for up to week in an airtight container.

mozzarella arancini



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48 thoughts on “Mozzarella Arancini with Spicy Marinara Sauce

  1. This is best recipe for using leftover rice that I have seen! Usually cold, dried out rice is unpalatable but my goodness this is a scrumptious recipe!

  2. I’ve seen these on many restaurant menus lately, Jessica, and they always tempt me but often seem too heavy to have as a starter. I think they’d be much better baked – great idea! I think I’d use any kind of leftover risotto … lovely recipe!

  3. I love arancini! When I make risotto I’m always sure to make a lot extra so I can make these yummy balls with the leftovers. Love that you put mozzarella inside. I’m going to have to try that next time. Beautiful pictures!

  4. Oh, I need to make some risotto just so I can make these. Your photos are beautiful! I just wanna grab one of those, dip it in sauce and eat it up!! Pinning!

  5. My sister and I went to Italy about 6 years ago and been craving to go back with my husband. I hope this is the year! Loving these mozzarella arancini! They look delicious! Pinning. 🙂
    I just started following you on twitter too. 🙂

  6. You know, at my old age I finally bought a deep fryer. I bought a little one, cause I knew I wasn’t going to be frying huge quantities of anything, and yet I still haven’t used it. Now this is the recipe I think I will have to use to break in the deep fryer! It’s fabulous!

  7. Oh wow, my husband and I would both absolutely LOVE these. I’m pinning this because I’ve got to remember to try it! 🙂

  8. Pingback: Mozzarella Balls | Dixie Chik Cooks

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