Is there much more comforting than a bowl of risotto? Silky,creamy and cheesy – what is not to love on a cold winter’s day? Not only is risotto a fantastic meal on it’s own, it also makes great leftovers. Find out how to turn a bowl of comfort food into an impressive looking starter – thought don’t tell anyone how easy it is!
Yields: Approx. 14 small Arancini
200g risotto rice
¼ stick of celery
100ml white wine
600ml chicken stock
½ ball mozzarella
100g fresh breadcrumbs
2 eggs, beaten
flour for dusting
salt & pepper
400g tinned tomatoes
1 x red chilli
2 x garlic cloves
Put a wide pan on a medium-low heat and drizzle in a little olive oil. Dice the onion as finely as possible, and add to the pan. Dice the celery in much the same way – as finely as possible and throw into the pan. Sweat together for 10 minutes.
Add the risotto rice and stir to combine with the soffritto for a few minutes. You want the rice to be coated in the pan juices. Pour in the wine and allow to evaporate. Once the wine has evaporated, pour in the chicken stock a ladle at a time. You want to stir the mixture inbetween each one. You want the stock be have been absorbed before you add another ladle full.
Continue this process until the rice is cooked with a little bit of bite to it – should take around 15 minutes and you may or may not use all of the stock. Once the rice is cooked, remove from the heat. Add some salt, pepper and grate in parmesan – I like it quite cheesy, so judge it by taste. Stir in, cover and cool straight away. You don’t want to leave rice out in room temperature for too long.
While the rice cools, get your breadcrumb production line in order: a plate of flour, the beaten egg next to it and finally, breadcrumbs. I added some dried oregano to the breadcrumbs for extra Italian flavour.
Now is the best time to get to work on the sauce. Deseed and finely chop the chilli and transfer to a pan. Crush the two garlic cloves and stir for a few minutes to stop the garlic from catching. Pour in the chopped tomatoes and leave to bubble away.
Once the rice has cooled it’s time to get assembling! Firstly, a tip – wet your hands. This will help the rice bind together while shaping, rather than sticking to your hands. Roll the rice into balls about the size of a golf ball. Using your finger, press a whole into each ball, push some mozzarella into each hole and use your hands to cover the hole with the sides of the risotto, forming it back into a ball.
Roll each ball in the flour, then egg and then transfer and roll in the breadcrumbs.
Heat the vegetable oil. You will know when it’s at the right heat if you drop a square of bread into it and it floats and browns within a few minutes. Carefully lower each Arancini ball into the oil and fry in batches of four for approximately 6-8 minutes until golden brown. With a pair of tongs lower the sage leaves into the oil for just a few seconds without letting go and then transfer onto kitchen paper to crisp up.
Transfer the Arancini from the oil to the kitchen paper to absorb excess oil. Spoon some of the Arrabbiata sauce onto the plate, place the Arancini ball on top and top with the sage leaves. Dig in.