Arancini with Fennel, Lemon and Crescenza Cheese

Serves 12-15
Brian Streeter
Pairs well with:
Chardonnay, Napa Valley

Chef Brian Streeter shows us how to create a wonderful appetizer and winemaker Julianne Laks describes how it pairs well with Cakebread Cellars Napa Valley Chardonnay.


4 c. vegetable or chicken broth
1 onion, minced
1/2 bulb fennel, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 T. butter, unsalted
1 c. Carneroli or Arborio rice
1/4 c. white wine
1/4 tsp. lemon zest
1/4 c. fennel fronds, chopped
1/4 c. parmesan cheese, grated

8 oz. Bellwether Farms Crescenza cheese*

3 eggs
1/4 c. milk
3 c. panko (Japanese Breadcrumbs)

vegetable oil


Place the vegetable stock into a large saucepan and heat to a simmer on the back of the stove. Heat a wide-bottom pan over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion, fennel and garlic in butter until soft. Stir in the rice and stir to coat. Add a couple ladles of the broth and stir until the broth is absorbed by the rice. Add another couple ladles of the broth and continue stirring until the broth is absorbed. Continue stirring and adding broth until the rice is cooked but still firm, about 18 to 20 minutes. Add the wine and lemon zest and cook during the last couple minutes. Stir in the parmesan cheese and chopped fennel fronds and season to taste with salt. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Scoop the risotto into balls with a small ice cream scoop. Flatten a ball of risotto in the palm of your hand. Place a teaspoon of the Crescenza cheese in the center. Enclose the cheese with the risotto and roll into a ball between the palms of your hand. To bread the risotto, beat the eggs and milk together in a bowl and place the panko in separate bowl. Dip the risotto balls in the egg and roll in the breadcrumbs. Fill a deep pot with the vegetable oil to a depth of 3 inches. Heat to 350°F. Fry in small batches until golden brown. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat with the remaining balls of risotto. Serve while still hot.

*Crescenza cheese is a soft, creamy cow’s milk cheese from Bellwether Farms, located in Sonoma County, CA. If unavailable you can substitute fresh mozzarella in its place.

Cakebread Cellars

You must confirm that you are at least 21 years of age before entering the site.

Guest or

© 2019 Cakebread Cellars | Rutherford, CA 94573