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Copy Cat Recipe: Coppa's Barrata Arancini

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To know me is to know that I'm freaking obsessed with Italian food. So when I first dined at Coppa Ristorante Italiano, with its brick-oven pizzas and freshly made pastas, it was love at first sight. I had many amazing dishes that faithful night, but my favorite had to be the barrata arancini -- for those of you that don't know, that's breaded and fried balls of risotto studded with burrata, a incredibly soft, incredibly rich cheese made with fresh mozzarella and cream.

Crisp on the outside, oozing on the inside, these little guys are melt-in-your-mouth perfection. They are a steal for only $5 at Coppa, but I wanted to re-create the recipe myself so I can make it for myself for my family and friends back in New Jersey.

Here's how to make Coppa's burrata arancini at home:

Ingredients

For the risotto: yields about 2 cups

  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 3/4 cup Arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup good-quality dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste (about 1/4 tsp each)

    For the arancini: yields about 16-24 balls

  • 2 cups cooled risotto
  • 4 oz burrata cheese, diced into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 cup flour + more if needed
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup panko or regular breadcrumbs (or a mixture of both)
  • 1 small lemon, zested
  • Salt and pepper
  • Vegetable, canola or peanut oil, for frying
  • Freshly grated parmesan + marinara sauce, for serving

    Directions

    To make the risotto: In a medium saucepan, bring chicken stock to a simmer. Lower the heat so the stock stays hot.

    Heat a large heavy-bottomed skillet to medium and add 2 tbsp butter. Once melted, add the shallot and cook until softened, about 2-3 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with butter, lightly toasting until there is a nutty aroma, about 1 minute. Do not allow rice to brown.

    Add the wine and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 1 minute. Pour in a ladle of the hot chicken stock and stir in a figure-8 motion until most of the liquid has absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue adding stock, one ladle at a time, stirring constantly and allowing the liquid to absorb before adding more. Cook until mixture is creamy and rice is tender but slightly al dente, about 20 minutes.

    Remove from pan and stir in the remaining 1 tbsp butter and the parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    Remove from pan to allow to cool.

    To make the arancini: Dampen your hands with water and grab about a little less than a golf-ball size scoop of risotto. Stuff a piece of burrata into the center and form the risotto into a ball around it. Roll to make sure cheese is completely enclosed. Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Repeat until all balls are formed.

    Set up a breading station with flour, beaten eggs, and breadcrumbs seasoned with salt, pepper, and fresh lemon zest. One at a time, roll the risotto balls into flour mixture, then dip into egg, turning to coat completely, and finish by rolling into the breadcrumb mixture, pressing lightly to make sure it adheres. Shake off excess crumbs and place back on parchment-lined sheet. Repeat until all balls are coated.

    The balls will hold their shape better if cooled, so refrigerate the sheet pan for at least 30 minutes before frying.

    In a dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pan, heat about 3-4 inches of oil to 375 degrees. Use a slotted spoon to drop the balls, about 3 or 4 at a time, into the oil. Fry, turning as needed, until golden brown and crisp, about 4-5 minutes. Place on paper towel to drain excess oil as you continue frying the rest.

    Sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese and serve hot alongside fresh tomato sauce.

    Enjoy!

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