Happy Halloween, everyone! I know I am a day early, but I had to post this haunting recipe so that you can make it to celebrate to spookiest day of the year!
This year, I came up with terrifying (yet delicious) Squid Ink Arancini– and they’re perfect for serving at any Halloween party you may be hosting or attending!
A Spooky Twist on an Italian Classic
Arancini are simply deep fried rice balls. They are made of risotto (often leftovers from a previous meal) and are typically deep fried and served with marinara or another similar tomato sauce. They are a classic Italian appetizer recipe as they are a small 2-3 bites in size, but they can sometimes be large enough to be served as a main dish as well.
Of course, since rice is a blank canvas, there are so many flavours that you can add to the risotto itself! Mushroom, squash, or even my Spring Veggie Risotto are all delicious and classic risotto flavours. However, in this recipe, I opted to keep it simple and make a traditional risotto with onions, garlic, lemon, (loads of) Parmesan, chicken stock, and white wine. This way, my key ingredient would steal the show…
There for Colour, Not Flavour
While I could eat this risotto as is, I wanted to take it a bit further and really make them spooky for Halloween. To do this, I added some squid ink to the risotto once it was finished cooking to give it a deep black colour. Doesn’t it look so good?! While the squid ink in the jar smells a bit fishy, it’s definitely not fishy tasting at all! All you need is a little bit of squid ink and it will colour your recipe perfectly, and leave no fish flavour!
To offset the perhaps slightly off putting black risotto, I decided to stuff them with mozzarella cheese. Because really, who would see oozing mozzarella and not eat it?! I used a low-moisture mozzarella to get that oozy and perfect cheese-pull for these arancini!
Baked, Not Fried
Finally, I decided to bake these arancini instead of deep frying them. While I love the flavour of deep fried arancini, I leave that to restaurants to cook and for me to enjoy as a treat. Deep frying at home always intimidates me (and add extra calories) so I opted to bake them instead. With my secret breadcrumb hack that I’ve used in my Chicken Strips and Classic Chicken Kiev recipes, you will barely know that it’s baked and not fried!
I hope that you enjoy this spooky appetizer recipe this Halloween! Let me know in the comments below if you would love to try this and also what you’re dressing up as for Halloween!
For the full recipe for my Squid Ink Arancini, scroll down below!
Get the Recipe!
Baked Squid Ink Arancini
For the Risotto:
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup yellow onion finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 2 cups arborio rice
- 1 cup white wine
- 8 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup parmesan cheese finely grated
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon squid ink
- 1 ball mozzarella cheese 350 g, cubed
For the Breading:
- 4 cups panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup salted butter
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 eggs beaten
- 1/3 cup water
- Begin by making the risotto. Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and butter and let it melt completely. Once melted, add the onion and pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the onions are soft and translucent, but not browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the chicken stock to a pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling reduce the heat to low and keep warm. You will add this to the rice while it's cooking.
- Next, add the arborio rice. Toss everything together in the pan, making sure to get the rice coated in the oil and butter. Let the rice toast in the pan for 2-3 minutes, stirring often, or until the edges of the rice grains are beginning to get translucent.
- Once the rice has toasted, add the white wine to the pan. Use a wooden spoon to mix everything together. Once the wine has absorbed into the rice, reduce the heat to medium and begin adding the chicken stock, one ladle (approximately one cup) at a time. Stir the rice together with the chicken stock until the liquid is fully absorbed before adding additional chicken stock to the pan. Repeat this process until all the chicken stock has been added, or until the rice is fully cooked.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add the parmesan cheese, lemon juice and squid ink. Mix everything to combine. Add additional squid ink if you would like a darker colour. Set the rice aside to cool for 30 minutes before rolling into balls.
- Prepare the breading station. Place the flour on a large plate and beat the eggs and water in a large bowl. Set aside.
- To make the breadcrumbs, melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Once melted, add the panko breadcrumbs and toss everything to coat. Remove from the pan and place on a large plate.
- Next, make the arancini balls. Use a large tablespoon to scoop up the risotto and use your hands to roll it into a ball. The balls should be the size of a golf ball, but you can make them larger if you would like. Take a cube of mozzarella and press it into the center of the arancini, then roll again to fully seal the cheese inside. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and repeat for the remaining risotto.
- Place the arancini in the freezer for 15 minutes to set. This will make the arancini easier to bread.
- Once the arancini have chilled, move on to breading. Roll the arancini in flour, followed by egg, and the breadcrumbs. Once coated, double-bread the arancini by adding it back into the egg mixture and then the breadcrumbs again. Return them to the parchment-lined baking sheet and repeat for the remaining arancini.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Bake the arancini for 20-25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through cooking to ensure the arancini get evenly browned.
- Once cooked, serve warm from the oven with a side of marinara sauce. Enjoy!