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Easy Gourmet Beef Recipes and Wine Pairings

Beef Arancini

breaded rice balls with
beef, peas & mozzarella


Beef Arancini Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 40 minutes
Serves: 4

Arancini are a great appetizer to include in your cooking 'playbook' - they can be filled with a variety of tasty fillings to please any palate. This recipe features a filling of flavorful ground beef cooked in red wine with peas and gooey, melty mozzarella cheese. You could easily version this as a vegetarian version by skipping the beef. The key is using a starchy, short-grained rice like arborio to form a nice ball.

For our red wine pairing, we've chosen two juicy reds with moderate tannins which are an ideal wine to warm up the palate over appetizers. Both play well against the note of red wine simmered with the beef as well as the acidity of the marinara dipping sauce. Our 'Splurge' is a particularly extracted and fruit-forward vintage of California Pinot Noir. For our 'Steal' we feature a great little $8 tempranillo from Spain. At that price, you'll want to stock up!

Wine Pairing

2009 Patz & Hall Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Chenoweth Ranch
Very ripe and dark for a Pinot - almost more like a Syrah - but still with fine balance. ($55)

2010 Protocolo Tinto, Tempranillo
Juicy and brambly. Lacks a certain degree of elegance but a lot of personality for the price. ($10)
Buy at Wine.com

Beef Arancini Ingredients:

½ lb hamburger
1 cup arborio rice
½ cup canned or frozen peas
½ yellow onion
2 eggs
1 clove garlic
1 cup white wine
2 cups canola oil
½ cup flour
½ cup seasoned bread crumbs
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tbsp dried oregano

Beef Arancini Cooking Instructions:

1.) Chop onion and dice garlic. Cut up mozzarella into medium-sized chunks.

2.) In a medium-sized pot, heat 2 cups water with 1 tbsp olive oil and a pinch of salt. When at a boil, add rice and reduce heat to a simmer, then cook for 15 minutes. Stir in parmesan, then remove from heat and reserve.


3.) Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large pan over medium heat and add hamburger, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. After 5 minutes, add onion and garlic and cook another 3 minutes. Add tomato paste, oregano, peas and wine, and cook another 2-4 minutes, then remove from heat and reserve.


4.) To make rice balls, take 1 tbsp and form into a ball, then use your thumb to depress a hole. Repeat to make a second half.


5.) Add a small scoop of beef mixture to the hole on one side and mozzarella to the hole on the other side. Then push together to form one rice ball. You may need to use a bit of water to get the two to stick well. Repeat until all ingredients are used up – about eight rice balls in total.


6.) Pour canola oil into a deep pot and heat over medium. Line up three bowls – one for flour, one for breadcrumbs, and crack and beat eggs in the last. Dredge each rice ball in flour (shaking off excess), then dip in egg mixture, then breadcrumbs.


7.) Add rice balls into oil to fry. Depending on the size of the pot, you may need to do this in two batches so the pot isn’t overfilled. When cooked to a golden exterior, remove from oil and dry on paper towels.


8.) Serve with marinara sauce for dipping. Enjoy!

Next Recipe: Beef Wellington with Creamy Peppercorn Sauce



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