1/2 cup short-grain brown rice
1 tsp saffron threads
1/2 oz parmigiano-reggiano, grated
Handful of fresh basil, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 oz fresh mozzarella
1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
2 large egg whites, whisked until foamy
1 cup whole-wheat panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup marinara sauce with no sugar added
Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Place rice in a blender and blend until the rice is broken up into smaller pieces, about half their original size.
Fill about with about 1 cup water and the saffron. Pour in the rice, season lightly with salt and simmer on low for about 15 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed.
When the rice is done cooking, mix in fresh basil leaves and 1/2 ounces freshly grated parmigiano. The place the mixture in the freezer to cool for about 4 minutes.
Prepare the mozzarella by cutting it into 12 bite-size portions.
Remove the rice mixture from the freezer and form into 12 equal-size loose balls. Then, gently push a piece of mozzarella into the center of each. Reform the rice balls before placing them in the freezer for 2 minutes to tighten up.
Divide the flour, egg whites and panko breadcrumbs into separate shallow bowls.
Remove the rice balls from the freezer.
Coat each ball with the flour, eggs and panko bread crumbs before placing on a baking sheet. Then place the breaded rice balls in the oven and cook until the panko is toasted and crisp, about 6 minutes.
Remove the arancini from the oven and serve with tomato sauce.