I discovered Arancini by accident, a very boring accident. I was looking at the online menu for an organic takeaway pizza place when I noticed that they said there was going to be a change of menu in the spring, with a link to what was changing. They were adding Arancini to their menu apparently. I looked up Arancini and low, Arancini were stuffed balls of rissoto covered in breadcrumbs and deep fried.
I'm not a big fan of risotto. It's ok but if food is the same all the way through I get bored of eating it. Balls of deep fried risotto stuffed with whatever I fancy, something I could pick up with my hands and dip in things, now that sounded exciting. After the jump is a vague outline of how I made my balls, but you can make them however you want, with whatever you want, just make them because they are very tasty...
Chorizo and Mozzarella Arancini
Makes about 15 Arancini (2-4 per person)
Slab of Butter (30g)
Slug of Olive Oil (2 Tbsp)
1 Onion Finely Chopped
500g Arborio Rice
1ltr of Vegetable or Chicken Stock
Glass of White Wine or Cooking Sherry
Thyme (fresh or dried, 1 Tbsp of fresh, a little less of dried)
Salt and Pepper
50g Parmesan Cheese
1/2 Chorizo Sausage Diced
2 Tbsp Tomato Purée
1/2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1 Ball of Mozzarella
15 Fresh Basil Leaves
Forming the Balls
3 Whisked Eggs
Small Glug of Olive Oil
5 Cloves of Garlic
500ml Passata or Tin of Chopped Tomatoes
1tsp of Sugar
1 Tbsp of Balsamic Vinegar
Fresh Basil and Fresh or Dry Thyme
Salt and Pepper
You'll also need enough vegetable oil for deep frying your balls.
Making the Risotto
Put the oil and butter into a very large frying pan, add the onion and cook slowly till soft. Then add the dry rice and fry for a couple of minutes. Pour in a quarter of the stock and let the rice soak it up, then add some more, repeat until all the stock is in the pan. Add the thyme, glass of wine and some salt and pepper to taste. Keep cooking until the rice is soft, you may need to add a little more water if it gets too dry, but that's ok. Once it's all soft and gooey, probably about 20 minutes after you started, add the parmesan cheese stir in and take off the heat.
Thickly dice the chorizo and mozzarella. Add the chorizo to a small pan and put on a low heat to melt the fat. Add the tomato purée and balsamic with a bit of water and stir it all together. Put to one side.
Forming the Balls
When the risotto is cool its time to make the Arancini. Lay out the stuffing, the risotto, a plate with the polenta, a plate with the whisked egg, a plate with the breadcrumbs and a plate to put the finished Arancini on. Take a handful of Risotto and flatten it out over your hand. Place some of the tomato\chorizo mix, some mozzarella and a fresh basil leaf into the middle. Fold the risotto around the filling. Roll the ball in the polenta, then the egg and finally the breadcrumbs. Make all your balls and set to one side.
Crush all the garlic in a small saucepan. Add the glug of olive oil and gently cook until the garlic just begins to golden. Add the passata or chopped tomatoes and the balsamic vinegar. Then add the sugar and the herbs and some seasoning. Leave to reduce to a nice thick sauce while you fry your Arancini.
Cooking Your Balls
Turn the oven on to about gas mark 7 (220° Fahrenheit) and throw two baking trays in there. Now prepare a thick sturdy frying pan for deep frying the Arancini. You will need to fill the pan with oil, to about 2/3rds the height of the Arancini. Heat up the oil, and test its cooking by placing a breadcrumb in. If its sizzling that is good. You want to be frying the Arancini but you don't want them to cook too fast, they should be able to sit in the oil for about 5 minutes without burning. Lower the Arancini into the pan with a metal slotted spoon. When they are golden brown remove from the oil and place on one of the baking trays in the oven. The oven will help to retain the crunch and finish heating them all the way through.
When they are all fried, remove them from the oven and serve with a good dollop of the Marinara sauce. You might like some nice leafy salad with it too. Don't worry if you can't eat all your balls, they'll be fantastic the next day cold.