Makes about 12 rice balls

1 lb. ground beef
12 oz fontina cheese, cut into 1 oz. cubes
2 tbs. tomato paste
1/2 c. frozen peas
3 c. saffron risotto, cooled
1 egg
1/2 c. Italian seasoned bread crumbs + 1 c.
1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
canola oil for frying
salt & pepper

Start by making your filling. Heat the ground beef in a skillet over medium-high browning it. Season it with salt & pepper.

Once it's mostly cooked but still pink in spots, add in tomato paste.

Finally, add in peas and allow to thaw. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

To the rice, add eggs, bread crumbs and cheese. Mix until the rice becomes very sticky.

Pour about 1 inch of canola oil into the base of a fry pan. Heat over medium-high heat. Prepare a tray with brown paper or paper towel for draining. Have a slotted spoon at hand.

Place remaining cup of bread crumbs in a shallow dish. Set up a work space where your rice, filling and bread crumbs are all easily accessible. (You may want to add a small dish of water or do this near your kitchen sink so you can wet your hands.)

Using a ladle, pat some rice into the base of the spoon, about 1/4 inch thick. Spoon about a tablespoon of beef filling into the center. Add a piece of cheese.

Wet your hands and form another 1/4 inch thick rice patty in your palm. Place it over the one in the ladle, covering the filling, then curl fingers down and scoop the entire thing off the spoon. Roll as you would a meatball, making sure it closes completely. 

Roll the ball in the bread crumbs so it is completely coated. Set finished rice balls on a plate until you have used all your rice. Wet hands in between as needed.

Fry the rice balls in the canola oil until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes per side. If they get too brown, lower the heat. Use a slotted spoon to remove arancini from the oil and place on prepared tray to drain.

Serve arancini hot with marinara sauce for dipping!

Buon Appetito!