Thank you Rio Luna Organic Peppers for sponsoring this post!
One of my all time favorite appetizer recipes has got to be Italian arancini. These crispy fried cheese-filled rice balls are the ultimate comfort-food snack. So when my friends at Rio Luna Organic Peppers asked me to create some Game Day appetizer recipes featuring their high-quality organic peppers and chiles these bites of ooey-gooey happiness came to mind. Arancini are the perfect vehicle for the flavors of jalapeño poppers.
scroll for recipe...
Click on the video below to watch me make these Jalapeño Popper Arancini...
I added Rio Luna Diced Jalapeños, pepper jack and mozzarella cheese and cilantro with cream cheese to bind it all together. The jalapeños add just the right amount of heat and pair perfectly with the melty cheesy center for a delicious Game Day snack. Rio Luna Organic Peppers and Chiles are perfect for adding flavor and heat to dishes and their new labels feature a special heat index meter so you know how spicy each of their pepper products will be. Kick up your Super Bowl app table this weekend to next level snacking with these spicy jalapeño popper arancini.
some time-saving tips...
You’ll want to use cold risotto for arancini so it’s best to make a big batch the day before or up to 3 days before and keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to prep them. You can also save leftover risotto if your making it for dinner one night and use it for this recipe. The filling ingredients can be halved to make a smaller batch.
You can also prep the filling up to 3 days ahead of time and scoop it into 1 tablespoon balls the refrigerate them until the day you plan to make the arancini.
Making arancini is an involved process and takes a little time but the results are well with the extra effort. That crunchy fried exterior encasing creamy risotto and molten hot spicy jalapeño popper filling will have your guests salivating. These jalapeno popper arancini won’t last long, trust me.
I served these with a simple cilantro and lime juice chutney that cools the spicy heat of the jalapeños.
Rio Luna Organic Peppers and Chiles are certified organic, GMO-free, kosher, fat free, low calorie and cholesterol free and have been used by professional chefs for years because they are of the highest quality and are grown and produced with care.
Jalapeño Popper Arancini are
- 6 cups 3 lbs or 1.367 kg cooked leftover risotto (see recipe below)
- 4 oz. 113 g cream cheese, at room temp
- 2 oz. 57 g pepper jack cheese, shredded
- 2 oz. 57 g mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 4 oz. 113 g can Rio Luna Organic Diced Jalapeños, drained
- ¼ cup packed ≈0.3 oz or 8.5 g fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 1 ½ cups 6 oz. 162 g Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
- 2 eggs
- 24 fl. oz. 710 mL neutral oil for frying such as sunflower oil
- for Cilantro Chutney
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro leaves and stems
- ¼ cup 2 fl. oz. or 60 mL fresh lime juice
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- water to loosen sauce
- Line 1 baking sheet with parchment paper and place a cooling rack into a second baking sheet.
- Prepare the arancini filling by combining cream cheese, shredded cheeses, drained Rio Luna Organic Diced Jalapeños, chopped cilantro leaves, salt and black pepper together in a bowl with a rubber spatula until everything is evenly incorporated.
- Form the arancini by scooping about ¼ cup of the cold risotto and forming it into a patty in your hands. Tip: have a bowl of water nearby and wet your hands to keep the rice from sticking to your hands.
- Scoop about 1 tablespoon of the filling into the center of the rice patty then, using your hands, enclose the rice around the filling and roll it into a tight ball. Place the ball onto the parchment lined baking sheet and repeat the process until you have formed about 24 arancini.
- Set up a breading station by pouring breadcrumbs into 1 bowl and cracking 2 eggs into another bowl. Beat the eggs with a fork to make an egg-wash.
- Designate one hand for "dry" and the other for "wet". Use your "wet" hand to coat an arancini ball in the egg-wash then transfer it to the bowl of breadcrumbs and use your "dry" hand to cover it evenly in breadcrumbs. Then place it back onto the baking sheet. Repeat this process with the remaining arancini.
- Once all of the arancini are breaded, heat the frying oil in a heavy bottomed deep-sided skillet or pan until it reaches 350˚F. Tip: use a candy/frying or instant-read thermometer to monitor the temperature of the oil.
- When the oil has reached 350˚F fry the arancini in batches of 6. The oil should reach halfway up the arancini balls. Fry one side until nicely browned about 2-3 minutes. Then carefully turn each ball using long kitchen tongs and fry the other side for another 2-3 minutes. When the batch is done frying transfer them to the cooling rack set over a baking sheet to cool. Sprinkle them with kosher salt while they are still hot. The repeat the frying process with the next 3 batches of 6 arancini each.
- Prepare the cilantro chutney by blending the cilantro, lime juice and salt in a blender until pureed. Add water a little bit at a time if needed to loosen the chutney while it's blending.
- Serve hot and enjoy immediately.
- Like any fried food, arancini are best eaten hot right soon after they are done frying.
- Leftover arancini will keep for up to 3 days, covered and refrigerated. Reheat in a toaster oven to serve.
- 6-8 cups of water or stock vegetable or chicken
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large sweet onion
- 2-4 cloves garlic
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons dried or 2 tablespoons fresh herbs such as thyme or oregano
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt + more to taste
- ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
- ½ cup white wine 4 fl. oz. or 125 mL (optional)
- 2 cups 14 oz. or 400 g arborio or carnaroli rice
- 4 tablespoons 2 oz. or 56.5 g butter
- ½ cup 1.5 oz or 42.5 g parmesan cheese, grated
- Bring water or stock to a boil then reduce to a simmer in a saucepan.
- Peel and dice onion and mince garlic.
- Heat a large deep-sided skillet or pot on medium and add olive oil when its hot.
- Saute onion until translucent (about 2 minutes) then add garlic, bay leaves and herbs. Continue cook until onions start to brown (about 2 minutes), add salt and pepper and stir in rice and let it start to toast in the pan (about 1 minute).
- Deglaze the pan with white wine and stir until alcohol has cooked off, about 1 minute.
- Ladle in 1 cup of the simmering water/stock and stir constantly until nearly of the liquid is absorbed by the rice. Then continue ladling liquid and stirring until rice is creamy and cooked through, about 15-20 minutes.
- When rice is cooked, remove from heat and stir in butter, heavy cream and parmesan. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste if needed. Remove and discard bay leaves.
- Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and spread risotto onto it in one layer. Cool slightly at room temp then cover with wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before proceeding to make arancini.
- Risotto will keep for up to 3 days, covered and refrigerated.
Be sure to follow Rio Luna Organic Peppers on Facebook and Instagram to learn how to unlock the power of peppers and to discover recipes and entertainment tips! Available for purchase at Whole Foods nationwide, and for my Massachusetts followers you can also visit Shaws and Hannaford.
This post was in collaboration with and sponsored by Rio Luna Organics. All content and opinions expressed here are my own. Read more about my sponsored post and affiliate policy here.