These fried mac and cheese balls are inspired by another delightful Italian treat called arancini di riso. (Translation: little orange rice balls.)
How to Make Fried Mac and Cheese Balls
The mozzarella filling is completely optional, but it really adds something.
Fried Mac and Cheese Balls
Crispy crunchy creamy cheesy. There's really not that much more to say. Except I love them and you will too.
- 16 ounces orzo
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
- 3/4 cup milk
- 4 ounces parmesan grated
- 4 ounces Provel cheese or provolone
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 8 ounces mozzarella diced (optional)
- 3 eggs beaten
- 2 cups Italian bread crumbs regular or panko
- 4 cups vegetable oil
Melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. After the butter has melted, bloom pepper and dried Italian herbs until fragrent, about 2 minutes.
Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Do not let it brown.
Vigorously whisk in milk and emulify it with the butter.
Continue to whisk in the rest of the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Only add the next pad of butter after the previous one has completely melted and is incorporated into the sauce.
Do not let the milk mixture boil. Lower the heat if necessary.
Add all of the parmesan cheese and whisk until combined. Whisk in the Provel cheese until melted.
Turn off heat and set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the orzo and cook until tender, about 9 minutes,
Drain pasta and reserve pasta cooking water.
Stir pasta and sauce together.
Add 2 tablespoons of reserved pasta water to orzo and sauce. Mix well.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes up to over night.
With a small disher or spoon, take a small amount about the size of a large marble and put a piece of mozzarella into the center. Mold the pasta around the mozzarella to completely cover it. Repeat until all the pasta is rolled into balls.
Beat 3 eggs in a small dish. Dip an orzo ball into the beaten eggs and then roll it in the bread crumbs until covered. Set on a tray and repeat with the rest of the balls.
Heat 4 cups of vegetable oil to 350F.
Carefully lower 3 or 4 balls into the oil and fry until golden brown, about 1 – 2 minutes.
Remove them from the oil and let them dry on paper towels.