Arancini are a more recent discovery for me. I first came across them in a cookbook I won, and subsequently tried them at an Italian restaurant near us. But with the Pulse Pledge challenge this week, I decided to make arancini for the first time, with yellow split peas.
Known for their golden hue, arancini, or risotto fritters, pair well with yellow split peas. The mild taste of the yellow split peas blends well with the white wine, garlic, and mushrooms in the risotto. And these are arancini for everyone. Vegans can omit the egg and cheese and simply roll the risotto balls in cornmeal. Cheese lovers can enjoy the rich Manchego surprise inside the crisp-coated risotto blend.
Gluten Free Arancini with Yellow Split Peas or Lentils
- 1/2 cup cooked yellow split lentils (yellow split peas)
- 1 + 1/2 cups short grain rice, such as pearl rice or arborio
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil or butter
- 6 to 8 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 2 Tablespoons chopped celery
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup white wine or vegetable broth
- 5 to 6 cups vegetable or chicken broth, heated to a simmer
- 1/2 cup white or oyster mushrooms, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
- sea salt, to taste
- 1/2 cup cornstarch or tapioca flour
- 2 large eggs, beaten, optional
- 1 cup cornmeal or gluten-free bread crumbs
- 1/4 teaspoon Italian herb blend, optional
- 40 cubes, 1-cm each, Manchego cheese, optional
- 1 red bell pepper, diced into 1-cm pieces, optional
- oil for frying
- marinara sauce, for dipping, optional
- In a large saucepan or skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and celery and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add rice and white wine and stir until liquid is mostly evaporated. Stir in 1 cup of broth and bring the rice to a simmer, stirring constantly.
- When liquid is reduced, add another cup of hot broth and continue to simmer and stir. Add in cooked yellow split lentils and mushrooms, if using. Continue adding broth and stirring until rice is cooked through, about 20 minutes, adding sea salt to taste. Let risotto cool completely; cover and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Take a heaping tablespoon of chilled risotto and form into a ball around either a piece of red bell pepper or cheese cube, covering all sides with risotto, or make balls without filling. Roll each ball in cornstarch, then dip in beaten egg, and finally coat with cornmeal blended with Italian herbs.
- In a small to medium saucepan, pour oil to a depth of 1.5 cm or about half as thick as the rice balls . Heat oil over medium heat and then add a few rice balls to the hot oil, frying for several minutes on each side until golden. Keep fried rice balls warm and continue frying rice balls in batches. Serve arancini warm with marinara sauce if desired.
Would you like to join me in taking the Pulse Pledge too? All you need to do is sign up and pledge to eat some kind of pulse, like split peas, lentils, and chickpeas, once a week for ten weeks this year. Simple! I’m also delighted to be back at Fiesta Friday this week, where I always find friendly company and inspiring recipes. I hope everyone’s year is getting off to a great start!