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Smoked Cheddar Sloppy Joe Arancini

Smoked Cheddar Sloppy Joe Arancini

Beef up this Italian specialty with unexpected ingredients.
  • Gooey Center of Smoked Cheddar Sloppy Joe Arancini
  • Smoked Cheddar Sloppy Joe Arancini
Head to Sicily and you’ll found these little arancini rice balls all over the region. They’re a common street snack that translates from Italian into “little orange” for the fruit they resemble. Fried little bowls of rice or risotto are filled with seasoned meat and a cheese (usually mozzarella) to bind it together. Our smoked cheddar sloppy Joe arancini has a decidedly American twist. Beecher’s smoked cheddar and a bit of serrano pepper really intensify this recipe. Even the most hard-core Italian grandma will approve of this taste (maybe).
Smoked Cheddar Sloppy Joe Arancini
Beef up this Italian specialty with unexpected ingredients.
  • Prep Time : 1 hr 30 min.
  • Cook Time : 25 min.
  • Total Time : 1 hr 55 min.
  • Serves 3-5


  • For Filling:
  • 1/2 lb. Lean ground beef
  • 2 Tbsp. Canola oil or other frying oil
  • 1 Small yellow onion
  • 4 Garlic cloves
  • 1/2 small Serrano pepper (adjust for desired heat level)
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. Murray's Honey Mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. Brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup 1932 Arrabiata Sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. Black pepper
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt


  1. Begin by dicing the onion and serrano pepper and grating the garlic cloves into a small bowl.
  2. Pour the oil into a medium saute pan and heat over a medium high flame. Tip in the ground beef and use a wooden spoon to break up any clumps. You want to achieve a browning on the beef without burning any pieces.
  3. After 2 minutes or so, remove the beef with a slotted spoon and set aside. Reduce the heat to medium and toss the diced onion and serrano into the pan with the rendered beef fat and oil and toss to sear. Cook for 3-5 minutes before adding the garlic. Stir to combine.
  4. Deglaze the pan with the Arrabiata sauce and stir into into the browned veggies. Stir in the reserved beef and add the Worcestershire sauce, mustard, brown sugar, black pepper and salt.
  5. Pour in ¼ cup of water and turn the heat down to low. Partially cover the pan and allow the flavors to meld for 8-10 minutes.
  6. Turn the heat off, cover the pan fully and set aside while you prepare the risotto for the arancini.
  7. A note: leftover risotto works incredibly well for arancini and is often recommended as a way to consume the otherwise slightly gluey leftover dish. Begin by dicing the shallot.
  8. Add the butter to a medium saucepan set over medium high heat. Melt the butter before adding the diced shallot. Sprinkle with salt and stir to combine.
  9. Set a small saucepan over low heat on a different burner and add the chicken stock to warm it.
  10. Once the shallot has cooked for 3-5 minutes and appears slightly translucent but not burned, add the carnaroli rice and stir to combine. Let the dry rice kernels sizzle with the shallot and melted butter for a minute or so before deglazing with the dry white wine.
  11. Bit by bit, add roughly half cup ladlefuls of the warm chicken stock to the rice and shallots, stirring constantly to combine. Once the rice soaks up most of the liquid, add another ladleful until all the stock has been incorporated.
  12. Add the grated Parmigiano and stir to combine. Set aside to cool completely.
  13. Once the risotto has cooled (or if using chilled leftover risotto), set up your breading station by adding the flour, panko breadcrumbs and beaten eggs to three separate bowls.
  14. Cut the smoked cheddar into roughly ¼ inch cubes and set aside. And add the high heat oil to a deep saucepan or Dutch oven.
  15. Portion the rice into large golf-ball sized portions. Working with one portion at a time, flatten the risotto in your hand before adding a scant tablespoon of the cooked ground beef and a cube or two of the smoked cheddar to the center and then seal the risotto up around the filling to ensure that none is peaking through. Set the filled risotto balls aside on a clean plate until all are formed.
  16. Heat the oil over medium until it has reached 350 degrees F. Dredge the formed balls first through the flour, then the eggs and finally, roll them in the panko breadcrumbs before dropping them in the hot oil.
  17. Fry until they are golden brown and then, set aside on a wire rack or paper towel-lined plate. Enjoy!

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