Arancini Di Riso - Risotto Balls with Saffron Tomato Cream Sauce

These crisp little risotto croquettes are called arancini because they resemble "little oranges" and they are amazing. The texture is awesome, crunchy on the outside, then perfectly rich and creamy inside and flavor-wise, they are off-the-charts delicious.


  • Yellow onion, chopped  ·  1 
  • pinch of Herbie’s Kashmiri Saffron (about 20 strands)  ·  1 
  • Vegetable oil  ·  6 cups 
  • Olive oil  ·  1 tablespoon 
  • Heavy cream  ·  2 ounces 
  • Lemon, juiced  ·  1 
  • Honey  ·  2 tablespoons 
  • Williamson Chantilly Chardonnay  ·  1/2 cup 
  • (28 oz) Crushed tomatoes  ·  1 can 
  • Garlic Cloves, minced  ·  4 
  • Arborio Rice  ·  1 cup 
  • Olive Oil  ·  2 tablespoons 
  • Chicken stock  ·  1 quart 
  • Panko Breadcrumbs  ·  2 cups 
  • Eggs, beaten  ·  3 
  • All purpose flour  ·  1 cup 
  • Williamson Chantilly Chardonnay  ·  1/2 cup 
  • Garlic cloves, minced  ·  2 
  • Shallots, minced  ·  2 


In this recipe our Executive Chef Tommy Stribling, graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, demonstrates how to make Sicilian Arancini di Riso - risotto croquettes with a tomato cream sauce using the exquisite flavor of Herbie's whole stigma Kashmiri Saffron.

They take some effort and time to make, but trust Tommy - they are totally worth it.

Simply called "rice balls" in many Italian-American delis and restaurants, arancini hail from Sicily, where they're commonly served as bar snacks. They can be made with a variety of fillings, including cheese, prosciutto, meat sauce, peas, mushrooms, and other vegetables.

The croquettes are great on their own and better with the delicious saffron cream tomato sauce. If you're serving the arancini as hors d'ouevres, put a dipping bowl of the warmed sauce on your serving tray or buffet table and serve with Williamson Chantilly Chardonnay.

Making the Risotto Balls

  • In a large pot heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat. When it begins to shimmer add the shallots and garlic.
  • Sweat for 1 minute then add Chardonnay and Arborio rice.
  • Cook for 1 minute then add 1 cup of chicken stock and turn the heat down to simmer.
  • Let the rice slowly cook over very low heat for about 30 minutes constantly stirring and adding ½ cup of chicken stock at a time until it is completely absorbed by the rice and it is fully cooked.
  • Then remove from the heat and let it cool. You can store it in the refrigerator as you set up the breading station.

While the risotto is cooling in the refrigerator set up the breading station by using three small bowls.

  • Add the flour to the first bowl, the eggs to the second bowl, and the breadcrumbs to the last one.
  • Take the risotto out of the refrigerator and form the balls to your liking.
  • Then take each individual risotto ball and roll it in the flour, then the eggs, then the breadcrumbs.
  • Set them on a sheet tray lined with parchment. Once they are all formed place them in the freezer until you are ready to deep fry.

Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy bottomed pot until it reaches 350-375 degrees. While the oil is heating you can start the sauce.

  • In a small bowl or a cup add the Chardonnay then add Herbie’s Kashmiri Saffron and let it sit for 10 minutes.
  • Heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  • When it begins to shimmer add the garlic and onions. Cook for about 2 min. then add the wine/saffron mixture and cook for an additional minute.
  • Then add the tomatoes, honey and lemon juice. Stir until everything in the sauce is incorporated and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Either in a blender or using a stick blender puree the sauce until it has a smooth yet chunky texture.
  • Return the sauce to the pan, add the cream and reserve.

Once to vegetable oil has reached 350 degrees, pull the risotto balls out of the freezer and drop them in the oil one at a time. Cook until they are golden brown. (Do not fry them in too big of a batch or else the oil will drop drastically in temperature.)

Heat the sauce again and serve warm with the risotto balls!

Chef Tommy’s Tips:

  • This is a great appetizer recipe, but it can also be an entrée. Just follow the risotto recipe in Step 1, except instead of forming individual balls keep it warm in the pan. Then follow the same sauce recipe in Step 4. Take 1 pound of prawns, peeled and deveined. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil up in a large sauté pan over med high heat. Season the prawns with salt and pepper and cook until they are firm and opaque. Add the shrimp to the pan with the sauce and coat. Serve shrimp over the risotto and enjoy with a cold bottle of Williamson Chantilly Chardonnay!

  • To make this Vegetarian, substitute vegetable stock for the chicken stock as long as the vegetarians are OK with eggs and cream.

Chantilly Chardonnay

Chantilly Chardonnay

Chantilly is an attractive Chablis-style wine, pale gold, with floral aromas of white peach, lemon and butterscotch.

Saffron Kashmiri whole Stigma

Saffron Kashmiri whole Stigma

These premium quality pure stigmas have a classic 'woody' aroma & intense colour. One half gram pack contains approx 250 stigmas (SML PKT