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giant stuffed arancini

giant stuffed arancini (scopa copycat recipe)

These are a dupe for the signature stuffed arancini on the menu at Scopa Italian Roots. A shell of crunchy deep-fried rice wrapped around a stuffing of ground beef, cheese, and peas. Serve it up in a bowl of spaghetti sauce and top it off with even more shredded cheese.
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Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Italian
Servings 5 arancini



Rice mixture

  • 4 cups arborio rice (cooked and cooled)
  • 1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • ¾ cup finely grated pecorino romano cheese
  • 1 large egg

Meat filling

  • lb hot italian sausage (2 large sausage links, casings removed)
  • ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • ¼ cup red wine (optional)
  • ¼ cup spaghetti sauce (use your favorite)
  • cup frozen peas

Cheese filling

  • 3 oz whole mozzarella (cut into ¼" cubes)
  • ¼ cup whole milk ricotta

For frying

  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • cup finely minced parsley
  • 8-10 cups peanut oil (or other neutral oil for frying)

For serving

  • 4 cups marinara spaghetti sauce (use your favorite)
  • finely minced parsley
  • finely grated parmesan cheese


Prep components

  • Make the meat filling: Heat oil in skillet over medium heat until shiny. Cook sausage links, using using a wooden spoon or spatula to break them up into crumbles. Once just a few pink spots remain, add red wine and spaghetti sauce and cook until browned and little liquid remains. Stir in frozen peas. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  • Make the rice: Mix cooked and cooled arborio rice, parmesan and pecorino cheeses, and egg together in a bowl until well combined. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  • Make the breading: Combine parsley and breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl (big enough for you to fit both hands into it). Set aside.


  • Measure ½ cup scoop of rice, tightly packed. Wet your hands and transfer rice into your non-dominant hand. Use your other hand to press the rice flat into your palm and fingers, creating an indentation. This is one half of the arancini.
  • Scoop another tightly packed ½ cup of rice mixture into the measuring cup. Leave it in the bowl of rice mixture for now.
  • Scoop ¼ cup of the meat filling into the center of the indentation and top with 1 TBSP ricotta and 3-4 cubes of mozzarella. It will seem like too much but it's not, I promise.
  • Scoop the other ½ cup rice into your dominant hand. Use the knuckles of your other hand to press down to flatten and create an indentation.
  • Press the rice in your dominant hand over the meat mixture, and squeeze and press the two halves together, pinching and smoothing the rice mixture out at the seams until you have a smooth ball with the meat mixture sealed inside.
    If the rice mixture sticks to you, dampen your hands again. If there are any gaps or holes, you can use some of the remaining rice mixture in the bowl to patch them.
  • Place the arancini in the breadcrumb mixture, rolling it around to coat. Press the breadcrumbs firmly into the surface of the arancini. Set aside on a sheet pan or cutting board until ready to fry. Repeat with remaining rice, meat and cheese filling, and breadcrumbs.

To fry

  • Heat oil to 325°F in large pot on the stove. The pot should be tall enough that the arancini will be submerged with at least 1" of oil above them.
  • Place arancini in the hot oil one at a time, working in batches of two to give them plenty of room. Fry for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown, adjusting the heat as needed to maintain 325°F.
  • Remove from oil to paper towel lined sheet pan or cutting board.

To serve

  • Spoon ¼ cup spaghetti sauce onto a plate. Place arancini in the center, top with additional grated parmesan and minced parsley. Serve hot!
  • To reheat from cold: 15 minutes in a 350F oven.


  • 4 cups of rice = 4 standard measuring cups of cooked arborio rice. Not the rice measuring cup that comes with your rice cooker. I don't know what kind of measuring cup your rice cooker comes with, so I'm leaving it to you to figure out the best way to make 4 cups of cooked arborio rice. You may have extra rice left at the end. 
  • Recipe adapted from Scopa Italian Roots.
  • Prep and cooking time doesn't include cooking and cooling the rice.
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