Arancini - Crispy Risotto Balls

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Arancini is a rustic Italian dish that's a great way to use up any left over cooked risotto rice. In my version, a little low fat cheese is hidden inside a ball of cooled risotto rice, coated in breadcrumbs and gently pan fried so the outside crisps up, while the cheese inside melts. Perfect as a starter, they are great served with a little Tomato Pesto or pasta sauce on the side for dipping.

Also, this post is the 100th recipe I've posted on the site. Since it's been set up in February, over 2,500 unique visitors have viewed more than 5,000 page impressions and I'd like to thank you all for your support and encouragement. Here's to the next 100!

This recipe should give you approximately 10 risotto balls.

• 100g of risotto rice. Cooked as Basic Risotto and allowed to cool
• 40g of low fat mozzarella. Cut into 10 x 4g cubes
• 1 medium egg. Lightly beaten
• 100ml low fat milk
• 2 slices of Weightwatchers wholemeal bread (To be blitzed into bread crumbs)
• 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
• ½ vegetable or chicken stock cube. Crumbled
• 4 sprays of Fry Light One Cal spray oil
• a good twist of black pepper

  1. In a small bowl, mix the egg and milk and beat with a fork to combine.
  2. Blitz the bread with a hand blender or food processor. Add the Italian seasoning and stock cube and transfer to a shallow bowl.
  3. To shape the balls, take about a teaspoon of the risotto mixture in the palm of your hand. Place a mozzarella cube in the centre. Take another teaspoon sized portion of rice and place on top. Shape with both hands ensuring the cheese is completely covered.  Place onto a sheet of tin foil or a clean plate while you continue to shape the rest of the balls. The balls can be refrigerated at this stage, then coated and fried when you're ready to serve them.
  4. To cook the risotto balls, heat a large pan over a medium heat and add the spray oil.
  5. Quickly dip the risotto ball into the egg/milk mix and lightly "splash" to ensure it's coated. Next place it into the breadcrumb bowl and sprinkle breadcrumbs over them. Remove and very lightly shake off the excess and place onto a clean plate.
  6. When you have the first 5 risotto balls done. Transfer them to the pan and fry gently for 8-10 minutes, turning regularly. (A little longer if they have been refrigerated before frying). I find it's easier to shape the balls into cubes, using a pallet knife or the back of a fork, as you can then turn them to ensure all sides are crispy. When they are cooked, transfer them to a plate lined with kitchen paper. Repeat the process with the remaining mixture and then serve with a twist of black pepper.

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