Make Lauren Hirschberg’s Pecorino Risotto Balls


At Craftbar (900 Broadway, 212-461-4300), chef de cuisine Lauren Hirschberg has introduced a special prix-fixe menu to celebrate the restaurant’s 10-year anniversary, including dishes such as white anchovy bruschetta with leek confit, soft-cooked egg and lemon aïoli, and Pecorino arancini with spicy tomato and Parmigiano. Hirschberg has decided to share his risotto-ball recipe with Fork in the Road.

Pecorino Risotto Balls
by Craftbar chef de cuisine Lauren Hirschberg


1 cup white wine
2 tablespoons butter
6 cups chicken broth, or as needed
3 cups Arborio rice
1 small white onion, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound Pecorino cheese, cubed (30-day aged tuscano-style is what we use)
2 cups plain dried bread crumbs
2 whole eggs, beaten
2 cups flour
2 quarts oil (for frying)


In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add the onion. Cook and stir until transparent, about 3 minutes. Mix in the rice, and continue cooking and stirring until the rice has absorbed most of the butter.

Slowly stir the white wine into the rice, stirring continuously until the wine is absorbed and the rice is creamy. Season with a dash of salt, then pour in 1 cup of chicken broth at a time, cooking and stirring constantly until each cup of broth is absorbed before adding the next. When the rice is tender, stop adding broth. If you run out of broth, you may use water. Remove from the heat, stir in the Parmesan cheese and allow to cool until you can touch it without burning your hands.

Lightly grease a large cookie sheet with olive oil. Pour the risotto onto the sheet and spread evenly. Place in the refrigerator for about 1 hour or until chilled.

When the rice is cool, roll small portions into balls about the size of golf balls. Tuck a cube of Pecorino cheese into the center of each one. Roll each ball in flour, egg, and then bread crumbs to coat.

In a heavy-bottom pot or deep fryer, heat to 375 degrees F. The oil should be about 3 inches deep. When the oil is hot, fry the arancini until they reach a golden orangish brown, about 3 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes, then serve with any marinara sauce.