Arancini Di Riso

I was asked a few days ago what was my favourite Italian dish, and I honestly couldn’t answer the question.

But it got me thinking about all the things I love to eat when I visit the family, and Arancini was high up on that list.

They are crispy coated fried rice balls filled with all manner of ingredients, you can eat them hot or cold and they are delicious.

They originate from Sicily but in Naples we call them pall'e di riso, rice balls, and in the rest of Italy they are known as Arancini, which comes from the Italian word for orange, arancia, because of their golden round appearance similar to an orange.

The recipe I am giving you today has a ham, pea and mozzarella filling but you can put inside whatever you like, the recipe is still the same.

There are many variations of fillings from all the different areas of Italy ranging from aubergines, mushrooms, pistachios or just plain mozzarella.

They all usually have tomato sauce with the filling giving the rice inside a nice red colour. The hard part is trying to decide which one to try first!

If you’ve ever made a risotto and had leftovers that you don’t know what to do with, you can use this in the arancini, it makes a great filling.

As you can possibly gather, my holidays back to Italy usually consist of a lot of eating. The ingredients are so fresh and I’m sure if I lived there I would be twice the size I am today.

Give this recipe a go and you won’t be disappointed.

First of all the shopping list. You also need some cooking oil on top of the ingredients listed below.

Ingredients for the rice

• 2gr saffron

• A pinch of salt

• 30gr butter

• ½ litre water

• 500gr Arborio rice

• 100gr grated parmesan

Ingredients for the batter

• 200gr ‘00’ flour

• A pinch of salt

• 300ml milk

• 100ml beer (optional)

Ingredients for the filling

• 500gr natural breadcrumbs

• 500ml passata

• 100gr cooked ham

• 100gr grated mozzarella

• 100gr peas

• 1 finely chopped onion

When you are ready to make the arancini there are a few things you need to do first in preparation. The rice needs to be cooked first and left to cool down before you can do anything, this process usually takes around 30 minutes.

• In a sauce pan boil the water and add a pinch of salt; when the water is boiling add the rice

• Cook the rice until all the water is absorbed; be careful not to let it burn

• Take the rice off the heat and add the saffron and butter

• Mix together until the butter has melted then add the parmesan cheese and stir again; it should all get a bit gloopy and sticky, which is what we want the consistency to be

• Leave this to one side to cool down, usually around 30 minutes

When the rice has cooled down you are ready to create the masterpiece that is the arancini!