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Arancini Casserole has all of the same flavors of Italian stuffed rice balls but layered into a delicious baked casserole.
Arancini Casserole is a delicious way to enjoy the flavors of a classic Italian arancini – without all of the fuss and frying.
This variation of an Italian classic is assembled as a layered casserole – with arborio rice, a flavorful meat filling, gooey Fontina cheese, and a bread crumb topping. The casserole is baked until it is hot and steamy, the cheese has melted, and the bread crumbs are golden brown.
It’s the ultimate, delicious comfort food dish!
What are Arancini?
Arancini are Italian appetizers or snacks consisting of a stuffed ball of rice that is rolled in breadcrumbs and then fried. The stuffing can vary – sometimes ground beef, tomato sauce, peas, and cheese, while other variations might include ham and cheese.
Arancini are often made with leftover risotto because the creamy, sticky texture of arborio rice is perfect for rolling into balls.
How do you make an Arancini Casserole?
In our recipe below, we made the assumption that you don’t have leftover cooked risotto on hand – so you’ll start by simmering some arborio rice in vegetable broth. Once cooked, spread the rice on a sheet pan to cool, pressing the rice into an even, flat layer. Once the rice fully cools, cut it into twelve squares.
As the rice cools, saute ground beef and sweet Italian sausage in a skillet with some fresh garlic.
You’ll also combine eggs with shredded Fontina cheese – a nice Italian cheese that melts easily and has a creamy, mild flavor.
Next, assemble your Arancini Casserole in a 9×9-inch baking dish in layers: Tomato sauce, cooked rice, bread crumbs, cooked beef and sausage, egg and cheese mixture – according to the instructions in the recipe below.
Your final layer will be a combination of bread crumbs and cheese on top of rice – so that your baked casserole will resemble the outer layer of a fried arancini.
Bake until hot all the way through, the cheese is melted, and the bread crumbs are golden brown on top.
Once out of the oven, let your Arancini Casserole set up for about ten to fifteen minutes. Then cut into nine portions and serve with more tomato sauce on top if you’d like.
You may enjoy these other casserole recipes:
- Loaded Mashed Potato Casserole
- Scalloped Ham and Potato Casserole
- Baked Carrot Casserole
- Tuna Noodle Casserole
- Baked Chicken Salad
1 ½ cups arborio rice
3 cups vegetable broth
8 tablespoons butter
1 cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup onion, diced
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
½ pound ground beef
½ pound sweet Italian sausage meat out of the casing
3 whole eggs beaten
1 pound Fontina cheese, shredded and divided
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 quart tomato sauce
Place the arborio rice and broth in a 2-3-quart sauce pan and bring to a boil. Lower heat to low, cover and place the pan half off the burner and cook 15 minutes.
Place a piece of parchment over a sheet tray and spray with kitchen pan spray and set aside.
After the rice cooks 15 minutes, pour onto the prepared sheet tray and flatten the rice out so it reaches the edges of the tray and refrigerate until chilled.
While the rice is chilling, in a large saute pan over medium heat, melt the butter and add the bread crumbs and cook for 5-10 minutes to toast, stirring often. Pour the browned breadcrumbs into a bowl and set aside.
Clean the saute pan and over medium heat, add the oil and onion and cook three minutes.
Add the garlic, ground beef and sausage and cook to brown the meat. Drain this mixture and discard the fat and liquid. Set the meat aside.
In a medium bowl beat the eggs and add three-quarters of the shredded cheese, leaving one-quarter for the top before baking.
Add salt, pepper and parsley to the egg and cheese mixture and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Use a knife and cut the rice into 12 squares (4X3).
Begin assembling by pouring a half cup of tomato sauce into the bottom of a 9X9 baking pan.
Lay four rice squares on top of the sauce by lifting the rice from the parchment with a spatula and sliding into the pan.
Top that with one third of the toasted bread crumbs.
Top that with half of the drained meat mixture.
Top that with another half cup of sauce.
Top that with half the cheese mixture.
Top that with another third of the toasted crumbs.
Top that with four more rice squares.
Top that with the last half of the meat mixture.
Top that with another half cup of tomato sauce
Top that with the remaining cheese mixture.
Top that with the remaining four rice squares.
Top that with the last third of the toasted crumbs.
Finish by sprinkling on the last quarter pound of shredded Fontina cheese.
Place in the oven uncovered for 45 minutes.
Let sit 10-15 minutes to set up then cut 3X3 into nine pieces and serve with the remaining tomato sauce heated.
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