There’s really no other way to put it. You need to stop what you’re doing and make this casserole. Like, now. Right now!
This is the second recipe I’ve made of Gina’s this week (the first being Saucy Balls aka Asian Turkey Meatballs with Lime Sesame Dipping Sauce,) and not only did this yummy casserole satisfy both husband AND wife, but it also took Ben and I back to the unforgettable Italian vacation we took this Fall.
What is it already?!
Those luscious balls of fluffy risotto stuffed with meat and cheese then fried to a golden crisp that Ben and I fell madly in love overseas? Here! In casserole form! And it’s not even that bad for you! :D
Reader Elizabeth sent me the link to this recipe on Facebook and I followed the recipe pretty much exactly. I started by cooking up a typical Arancini filling: spicy Italian sausage mixed with ground turkey, onions, peas and marinara sauce.
While that mixture simmered and reduced, I got to work on the rice.
Normally Arancini would be made by stuffing leftover risotto with meat & cheese, rolling it into a ball, then breading and frying it. Since I’m not an Italian Grandmother with leftover risotto just laying around, I made my own with rice, egg whites, parmesan cheese and marinara sauce.
Casserole building time! I started by dusting a casserole dish with bread crumbs, then pressed in half the rice mixture.
Next, top the rice with the cooked filling mixture and mozzarella cheese,
then the other half of the rice and more marinara sauce.
Finish with MORE cheese and MORE breadcrumbs, then bake.
Layers and layers of flavah!
How much do you love it when casseroles come out in perfect squares?!
In true casserole fashion, the layers of creamy, cheesy rice and spicy, savory filling stood straight up. :)
The best part? The crunchy breadcrumb crust!
I used whole wheat, seasoned breadcrumbs and they gave the casserole that extra “umph” of flavor.
Ben and I inhaled this. We were so happy because it was so good, but sad because it made us seriously miss our Italian shenanigans!