Risotto is an Italian rice-based dish that involves a slow process of introducing stock into Aborio rice – a variety that produces a lovely creamy finish. It works well with so many different flavours from the classic pumpkin or mushroom to chicken, prawns and so much more. Leftover risotto is perfect for making into arancini balls for a tasty snack or party starter, such as these ones with a crisp, golden outer layer. It gives way to an interior that’s soft, gooey and full of flavour.
- 2½ cups (625 ml) salt-reduced chicken stock
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small (80 g) onion, chopped finely
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- ½ cup (200 g) arborio rice
- ½ cup (125 ml) dry white wine
- ½ cup (60 g) frozen peas
- 40 g ham, chopped finely
- ½ cup (40g) finely grated parmesan cheese
- 100 g mozzarella cheese
- 1 egg, beaten lightly
- Plain flour
- 1 egg, beaten lightly, extra
- 1 tbsp milk
- 1 cup (100 g) packaged dry breadcrumbs
- Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
Bring the stock to the boil in a medium pan. Reduce the heat to low and keep hot.
Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan, add the onion and garlic; cook, stirring, until the onion is soft but not coloured. Add the rice; cook, stirring, for 2 mins. Add the wine, then cook, stirring, until the liquid has evaporated.
Add about ⅓ cup (80 ml) of the hot stock; cook, stirring, over a low-medium heat until the liquid is absorbed. Repeat until all the stock is used. Total cooking time will be about 25 mins.
Stir in the peas, ham and salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat, stir in the parmesan cheese. Transfer the risotto to a bowl; cool.
Chop the mozzarella into 18 pieces.
Stir the egg into the risotto. Roll 2 level tbsps of risotto into a ball; press a piece of mozzarella into the centre of each ball; roll to enclose. Toss balls in flour, shake away excess. Dip into the combined extra egg and milk, then coat in breadcrumbs.
Heat vegetable oil in a deep saucepan; deep-fry the arancini in batches until they are browned and heated through.
Drain on absorbent paper. Serve hot with lemon wedges, if desired.
This recipe makes 18 arancini. The risotto mixture can be made a day ahead. Arancini can be fried several hours ahead of serving and reheated in a slow oven. Don’t have the oil too hot as the arancini will burn before the cheese is melted inside. After deep-frying, they can be kept warm in a slow oven.