Deep fried Sicilian stuffed rice balls coated in breadcrumbs make the perfect bite-sized snack. Arancini have been a feature of southern Italian cuisine for centuries, with fillings and shapes varying from region to region. The most popular fillings are meat, peas, Prosciutto and cheese. This is also a great way to use up leftover risotto.
For the Risotto
- 1 bunch of asparagus, (about 125g), woody stems removed
- 1 vegetable or chicken stock cube
- 2 tbsp Filippo Berio Mild & Light in Colour Olive Oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 300g risotto rice
- 100ml dry white wine
- 100g broad beans, blanched and podded
- Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 30g freshly chopped mint
- 2 tbsp freshly chopped flat leaf parsley
- 50g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 150g ball mozzarella, cut into 18 small cubes
- alt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Coating
- 150g plain flour
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 150g fine dried breadcrumbs
- Filippo Berio Mild & Light in Colour Olive Oil for deep frying
- Finely chop the asparagus, leaving the tips whole. Cook in a saucepan of simmering water for 2 minutes, until al dente. Drain, reserving the water. Pour this water over the stock cube and dissolve, add boiling water to make up to 900ml and stir.
- Meanwhile heat the Filippo Berio Mild & Light Olive Oil in a large frying pan and cook the onion and garlic over a low heat for 2-3 minutes until soft and translucent. Stir in the rice, increase the temperature and cook for 1 minute until the grains are coated in the oil and onion mixture.
- Pour in the wine and cook for 2-3 minutes until absorbed. Gradually add the hot stock, 125ml at a time, stirring constantly until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Cook for about 15 minutes so that the stock has been absorbed and the rice is creamy, but firm.
- Stir in the broad beans, asparagus tips and stalks and cook for 2-3 minutes until heated through. Stir in the lemon zest and juice, mint, parsley, salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese.
- Spread the risotto into a lipped tray and leave to cool to room temperature.
- Scoop the cooled risotto into 18 equal portions, slightly larger than a golf ball. Flatten a risotto ball in your hand and put a piece of the mozzarella in the centre, enclose the cheese in the rice and roll it into a ball. Repeat.
- Put the flour, eggs and breadcrumbs into three separate bowls. Dip each prepared risotto ball into the flour, followed by the eggs and then breadcrumbs. Transfer to a tray and set aside.
- Half-fill a large, heavy-based saucepan with the Filippo Berio Mild & Light Olive Oil and heat over medium-low until it reads 170ºC on a cooking thermometer or until a piece of bread turns golden brown in the oil within 45 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, lower the risotto balls into the oil in batches and cook for 4 minutes until golden brown. Set aside on a tray lined with kitchen roll.