Arancini with Zucchini and Goat Cheese

A pile of golden fried arancini with zucchini and goat cheese on a white plate, with a green salad and more arancini in the background.
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Enjoy crispy homemade arancini with zucchini and goat cheese, just like Nonna makes! An easy family recipe for Italian risotto balls filled with tender veggies and tangy goat’s cheese, fried golden in a pan with oil.


  • 2 medium zucchini, finely diced
  • 2 shallots, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 cup rice (Arborio, or risotto quality)
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 2 ¼ cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup fresh goat cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup flour
  • ⅓ cup grated Parmigiano cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil, or vegetable oil for frying


Sauté the veggies. Heat oil in a medium high-sided pan. Add the finely chopped shallots, finely diced zucchini, and fresh thyme. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until slightly browned and fragrant. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove half of the zucchini from the pan and set it aside.

Add the risotto rice. Add more oil to the pan if necessary. Add the rice and stir over heat for about 1 to 2 minutes. Pour in white wine and cook until mostly evaporated, about 2 minutes.

Add broth and cook. Start adding broth and stir gently while keeping the heat at about medium-high. When the liquid is almost fully absorbed, add more broth. Continue adding broth until the rice is mostly soft. You can add a bit more water and cook longer if needed to get it completely soft.

Finish the risotto and cool. Remove the pan from the heat. Add butter and grated parmesan cheese, then salt and pepper to taste. Add the rest of the zucchini and stir. Allow the risotto to cool for about 15 minutes, or until cool enough to handle.

Portion and fill the risotto balls. Scoop the cooled risotto into 12 equal portions. Flatten a risotto ball in your hand and put a piece of goat cheese in the center, then fold the rice around the cheese and roll it into a ball. Repeat with the remaining risotto balls.

Make the breadcrumb mixture. In a medium bowl combine the breadcrumbs and grated Parmigiano cheese.

Coat the risotto balls. Put the flour and eggs into two separate bowls. Dip each prepared risotto ball into the flour, followed by the eggs, and finally, the breadcrumb mixture. Transfer the coated balls to a tray and set aside.

Preheat the oil. Half-fill a large, heavy-based saucepan with vegetable oil and heat over medium heat, until a piece of bread placed in the oil turns golden brown within 45 seconds.

Fry and serve. Lower the risotto balls into the oil in batches and cook for 8-10 mins, or until golden brown. Remove the balls from the oil and transfer them to a tray lined with a paper towel. Eat the arancini warm, and serve with a fresh green salad.

Keywords: arancini balls, risotto balls, italian rice balls