Soppressata and Vella White Cheddar Arancini

Mill Creek Vineyards & Winery

1401 Westside Road
Healdsburg, CA 95448

A delicious Italian appetizer, arancini are rice balls that are stuffed with a filling and then deep-fried. These pair wonderfully with Mill Creek Vineyards' Zinfandel.

Wine Reduction

  • 1 bottle Zinfandel
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 3 bay leaves
To prepare the wine reduction, in a heavy saucepan over high heat, combine the wine, garlic, thyme, peppercorns and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the wine is reduced by one-third. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, discarding the solids. Set the wine reduction aside.

Red Wine Risotto

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 pound carnaroli rice
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
  • Wine reduction (recipe above)
  • Hot water as needed
  • 2 pounds soppressata, finely minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds mascarpone cheese
To prepare the risotto, in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, until the rice is toasted and the edges become translucent. Add the onion and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. 

Add 1 cup of the wine reduction and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape up the browned bits. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until all of the liquid is absorbed. Alternate adding hot water and wine reduction until all of the wine has been used and the rice is completely cooked; you will use more water than wine reduction.  

When the rice is done and all of the liquid has been absorbed, add the soppressata and mascarpone and stir to combine. Transfer the risotto to a baking sheet and refrigerate overnight.

Assembling and Frying Arancini

  • 50 ounces red wine risotto, cooked and chilled
  • 1/4 pound white cheddar cheese, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 12 eggs, whisked
  • 4 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • Canola oil for deep-frying
To assemble the arancini, using a 1-ounce scoop, portion the risotto into small balls. Stuff 1 piece of cheddar cheese into each risotto ball, then reshape and squeeze the risotto back into a ball. Place on a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before breading.  

Line another baking sheet with parchment paper.

Put the flour in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. Put the whisked eggs in another bowl. In a food processor, pulse the panko until very fine and transfer to a third bowl. Working in small batches, roll each risotto ball in the seasoned flour. Transfer each ball to the eggs, making sure to cover the risotto completely and evenly. Then transfer each ball to the panko, again covering the risotto completely and evenly.

Transfer the arancini to the parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate uncovered for 30 minutes. 

In a large, deep pot, heat canola oil to 360°F on a deep-frying thermometer. Working in batches, fry the arancini until lightly brown and crispy. Let stand for 5 minutes and then serve.