• 30 g butter
  • olive oil
  • 2 white onions , peeled and finely chopped
  • 500 g risotto rice
  • 1 large pinch of saffron
  • 175 ml dry Italian white wine
  • 2 litres hot vegetable stock
  • 70 g parmesan , finely grated
  • 1 squeeze lemon juice
  • 1 litre vegetable oil , for frying
  • To serve:
  • capers , fried
  • fresh oregano , sprigs
  • parmesan
  • For the filling:
  • 100 g shelled pistachios
  • 150 g ball of mozzarella , drained and chopped
  • 100 g caciocavallo cheese , chopped
  • 150 g semi-dried tomatoes , chopped
  • 1 small bunch of fresh oregano , leaves picked and chopped
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • For the pane:
  • 150 g plain flour
  • 3 large free-range eggs , beaten
  • 300 g fine dried breadcrumbs
  • For the arrabiata sauce:
  • 3 cloves of garlic , peeled and sliced
  • 1 red chilli , sliced
  • 1 small bunch of fresh basil , leaves picked (to serve), stalks chopped
  • 1 400g tin plum tomatoes


Recipe by Maddie Rix

Heat a large pan over a low heat and add the butter and olive oil. Once melted, add the chopped onions and sweat for 15 minutes or until soft but not coloured. Turn the heat up to medium and pour in the risotto rice, stirring for a few minutes, to ensure every grain is coated, then add the saffron and stir well.

Pour in the wine and let it bubble away for a couple of minutes, stirring regularly. Start ladling in the stock bit by bit, stirring it through the rice and allowing each ladleful to become absorbed before adding the next. Continue until the rice is cooked through, about 15–20 minutes.

Stir in the grated parmesan and the lemon juice, then leave to cool while you make your filling.

Place the pistachios in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside for 20 minutes, then drain and remove the skins; this gives your filling a better colour and smoother texture.

Chop the pistachios, then combine with the cheeses, tomatoes, oregano and lemon zest. Season to taste.

To form the arancini, scoop a portion of the cooled risotto into your hand. Spoon a tablespoon of the filling mixture into the centre and wrap the risotto around it to seal completely. Repeat with the remaining risotto and filling.

For the pane, place the flour, egg and breadcrumbs in separate shallow bowls. Carefully dip each arancini ball in the flour, shaking off any excess, then the egg, and finally the crumbs, ensuring the rice is completely coated. Set aside.

Make the arrabiata sauce by frying the garlic, chilli and basil stalks in a pan over a medium heat for 2 minutes. Pour in the tomatoes, season and cook for 10 minutes over a low–medium heat. Transfer to a blender and blitz until smooth.

Pour the vegetable oil into a deep, heavy-bottomed saucepan and place over a high heat. To test the oil is ready, drop in a few breadcrumbs – if they sizzle and float, it is ready.

Carefully lower in the arancini with a slotted spoon, in batches of four, and deep-fry for 8 minutes, or until golden and crispy. Transfer to a double layer of kitchen paper to drain.

Serve the arancini with fried capers, oregano sprigs, basil leaves, grated parmesan and the arrabiata.


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