Rice Bean Arancini with Bacon and Cheddar

Mike Isabella

Kapnos, Graffiato, and G Sandwich, Washington, D.C.

Rice beans are tiny beans that resemble grains of rice. Mike Isabella uses them in this play on arancini, which are typically made with risotto.


  • 2 cups dry rice beans
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup diced slab bacon
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • Canola oil for frying


Soak the beans in 6 cups of cold water overnight. (They will dramatically increase in volume by the next morning, and will plump even more when cooked.)

Drain the beans and place in a pot with the chicken stock, carrots, onions, and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Discard the bay leaf.

Combine 1 1/2 cups of the warm beans and vegetables with the cheese in the bowl of a food processor. Purée until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and fold in another 4 cups of cooked beans. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Chill in the refrigerator until firm, about 1 hour.

Cook the diced slab bacon in a sauté pan over medium-high heat until crispy and golden, about 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside.

Shape the bean mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls. Poke 1 or 2 pieces of bacon into the center of each ball, reforming the balls so that the bacon is completely encased. Place the arancini on a tray, then put the flour, beaten eggs, and bread crumbs in separate shallow bowls. Roll each ball in flour, then dip in the beaten eggs and coat with bread crumbs. Return the balls to the tray and store in the refrigerator until ready to fry.

Heat 5 inches of oil in a deep pot to 350ºF. Fry the arancini in batches until they are golden-brown, about 2 minutes per batch. (After a batch is finished cooking, let the temperature of the oil return to 350ºF before frying a new batch.)

Serve immediately.


About 20 arancini