For anyone who has never had or heard of arancini you are officially missing out. To put it simply; it is Sicilian stuffed rice balls, but to really sell it to you in a more foodie way, these are delicious balls of risotto stuffed with oozing mozzarella and then fried to give them a lovely crispy coating. In my eyes they are like little balls of heaven.
I made this recipe as a starter the first time we had friends round to dine at our new table (yes we finely have moved from the garden furniture to an actual dining table)! It was something I could prep the night before and then just cook up quickly before serving, so I highly recommend it for any dinner party starter. I would also suggest serving this with heaps of salad and some sort of sauce of your choice. This is one of those dishes that goes with so many different flavours, so I will leave the sauce choice up to you. You could try a classic arabiatta, a creamy mushroom, some spicy salsa or even just a drizzle of sticky balsamic. Whatever you chose, I promise you this dish will be delicious.
Makes 12 large balls – so I would say serves 6 for a starter or 4 for a main
- 40g dried wild mushrooms – soaked according to pack instructions and then finely chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 white onion – very finely chopped
- 1 stalk celery – finely chopped
- 250g risotto rice
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 pint hot chicken stock
- 1 tsp Italian herb seasoning
- Drizzle truffle oil (optional)
- 125g soft mozzarella ball – cut into 12 pieces
- Plain flour
- 1 egg – beaten
- Breadcrumbs & Polenta
In a large saucepan, heat the oil and then gently fry the onion and celery until soft.
Add the mushroom and the rice and then fry off for a couple of minutes so the rice is well coated in the mixture
Pour in the vinegar and stir until this had absorbed
Add the herbs and then the stock, a ladle at a time, stirring constantly in-between until the liquid has absorbed. Continue this process until the rice has softened – you may find you don’t need to use all the stock but it is worth having it there just in case.
Once the risotto is cooked, stir in the truffle oil, season to taste and set aside to cool before shaping.
Once cool, divide the risotto into 12 and shape into balls
Make a hole with your thumb in the middle of the ball and push the mozzarella into it. Close the rice back around it and smooth it out so the mozzarella is well hidden – repeat this process with each ball
Set aside 3 plates, one with the flour, one with the egg and the other with the breadcrumb and polenta mix and then one at a time roll the arancini first in the flour, then the egg and finally coat well with the breadcrumbs.
Set aside and repeat the process
Fill a saucepan or fat fryer with oil (saucepan should be about 2/3 full) to a medium – high temperature and once hot enough (test a piece of bread and if it sizzles straight away it is hot enough) cook the arancini balls for 5-6 minutes, until they are golden – You may need to do these in batches if they do not all fit at once.
Roll the balls on a sheet of kitchen paper and then serve up with some salad leaves and a sauce of your choice.