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Easy Holiday Appetizer: Arancini with Marinara Sauce

Easy Holiday Appetizer: Arancini with Marinara Sauce

PARTNER POST: Get ready to feed a holiday crowd with appetizer recipes paired perfectly with food-friendly Cavit wines.
With the holidays upon us, you want a delicious, yet simple appetizer. These Arancini with marinara sauce are a perfectly easy bite, paired with food-friendly wine.

Easy Holiday Appetizer: Arancini with Marinara Sauce

The holidays are HERE! Aside from baking up a storm, appetizers are huge this time of year. I love to have a couple of simple, fancy-ish ones up my sleeve for gatherings. Arancini, aka Risotto balls, are delicious and you can make them ahead of time, simply frying them up before your party.

Every year, I hope to throw a fun holiday gathering with my friends, yet the busy schedules always seem to get in the way. I am determined to make it happen this year! I would love to host an Italian Happy Hour with simple bites, Cavit wine and conversation. No ugly sweater gimmicks, just a fun happy hour. Not saying I don’t love Ugly Sweater parties…but I just want something simplified.

Easy Holiday Appetizer: Arancini with Marinara Sauce

The best part of the Arancini is the cheesy center! It’s a nice surprise for your guests–my girls went crazy for these. You can make these up to 3 days ahead of time, simply shallow frying them right before the party. I have a delicious Tomato Risotto recipe that is perfect for this recipe. If you want to use a store bought boxed mix, that works too! Just make sure you have 2 cups of cold, prepared risotto before starting the Arancini.

Easy Holiday Appetizer: Arancini with Marinara Sauce

Arancini can go with both red and white Cavit wine. The marinara pairs with red, yet I love to pair creamy dishes with white wine. Cavit Wine is not only delicious wine, it’s budget friendly. I like to get 3 bottles of the Select Red Blend and 3 of Pinot Grigio for any gathering. They’re crowd pleasers for everyone!

See Also

For another easy holiday appetizer, try these trout bites. Recipe here.

Easy Holiday Appetizer: Arancini with Marinara Sauce

Ashleigh Evans
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Italian


  • 2 cups of cooked and chilled risotto see recipe link earlier in the post
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan
  • 1.5 cups Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs
  • 4 oz mozzarella cubed
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil to shallow fry about 1/2 cup
  • To Dip: Marinara


  • In a medium sized bowl, add chilled risotto, eggs, Parmesan and 1/2 cup bread crumbs. Stir to incorporate.
  • Preheat cast iron skillet or pan with 1/2 inch Extra Virgin Olive Oil over medium heat.
  • Pour the rest of the bread crumbs on a plate.
  • Using a teaspoon, scoop the risotto mixture into round balls. Roll to make a circle, then push a small square of mozzarella in the center. Roll to cover cheese.
  • Transfer the arancini to the bread crumb plate and roll to cover. Place in hot pan, frying on both sides until golden brown.
  • Place on a paper towel lined plate after cooking and sprinkle with salt.
  • Serve with warmed marinara.


If you are prepping ahead of time, make follow all of the steps before shallow frying, including rolling in the bread crumbs. Store on a plate in the refrigerator until ready to fry--up to 3 days.


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