Arancini literally translates as ‘small oranges’ and they are traditionally made with yesterday’s leftover risotto. Now I don’t know about you, but in my experience there is no such thing as yesterday’s leftover risotto; I find it impossible not to eat everything I make. If you are one of those enviable types who has willpower, then you can use whatever spare risotto you have in the fridge. If you’re like me, you’ll have to start from scratch.
It is important to note that when making risotto generally, it is always better to serve it ‘al dente’, that is, with a little bit of bite to the grains. But when you use leftover risotto, it has had more time to absorb more moisture and naturally will be softer. This is exactly the texture that works best for arancini. When cooking from scratch, you have to override your instinct to stop cooking at ‘al dente’ and cook the rice for a few moments more than normal.