Butternut Squash Arancini with Parmesan Fondue

Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards

4401 Slusser Road
Windsor, CA 95492

  • RECIPE YEAR: 2013
  • RECIPE BY: Jennifer McMurry, Viola Pastry Boutique and Café
  • YIELD: Serves 4
  • PAIRS WELL WITH: Sonoma-Cutrer Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

Arancini are deep-fried risotto balls that are said to have originated in Sicily. They can be customized with various fillings and served with different sauces; in this version, butternut squash is the star ingredient, and a creamy Parmesan fondue is the sauce. To make this recipe vegetarian, substitute vegetable stock for the chicken stock.

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups Carnaroli rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • 4 to 6 quarts rice bran or canola oil for frying
  • Shaved Parmesan cheese for serving


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Place the halves, skin side up, on the prepared baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and roast until the squash is soft, 45 to 60 minutes. Let cool.

Peel the skin off the squash, place the flesh in a food processor and blend until smooth.

To prepare the risotto, in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the stock and half of the squash puree and bring to a simmer. 

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent. Add the rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent. Add the wine and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, then begin adding the hot stock-squash mixture to the rice, 1 cup at a time. Add more when the liquid is almost gone, and continue this process until the risotto is tender. Fold in the remaining squash puree.

Spread the risotto evenly on a baking sheet and allow it to cool.

Meanwhile, to prepare the fondue, in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the Parmesan and cream and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and let stand for 30 minutes. Strain the mixture, discarding the cheese. Pour the cream into a clean saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the cream is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Keep the fondue warm.

Scoop the risotto into balls. Place a piece of mozzarella in the center of each ball and shape it round with your hands. Set up a breading station with 3 bowls: 1 bowl with the flour seasoned with salt and pepper, 1 bowl with the beaten eggs and 1 bowl with the panko seasoned with salt and pepper.

Dip each risotto ball into the flour, then into the eggs and finally into the panko. Place on a baking sheet.

In a large pot, pour in rice bran oil to a depth of 6 inches and heat to 350°F. Place 6 to 8 arancini in the oil at a time and fry until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain, and season them with salt and pepper while they're hot. 

Place the warm fondue on a serving platter and arrange the arancini on top of the fondue. Garnish with shaved Parmesan and serve. 

Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards

4401 Slusser Road
Windsor, CA 95492