Crispy Cheesy Fried Risotto Balls or Arancini
Makes 16 balls
- 680g leftover pea and ham risotto
- 20g Mexican Jalapeno & Lime Rub
- 125g mozzarella, cut into small 1.5cm squares
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 150g plain flour
- 150g dried breadcrumbs
- 1.5 L sunflower oil for deep frying
- Piri Piri Ketchup for dipping
We love risotto, and we have it a lot, its so versatile, we have a basic creamy risotto that we serve with everything; Roast chicken, pea and ham, grilled salmon, tiny meatballs, rocket & parmesan, garlic mushrooms, chorizo & n’duja (spicy sausage meat)…the list goes on and on.
We always make far too much, so we have plenty left over for the next day. In the past we have added chopped smoked mackerel, skin removed and then a tablespoon (approx 10grams) of our Wasabi & Lime Dry Spice Rub to make amazing little fish cakes.
We have recently come across an alternative for our risotto leftovers, and we are loving these little Crispy Deep Fried Cheese Filled Risotto Balls. Very common dish in Italy, called Arancini Di Riso. We have given ours a Mexican twist by adding some of our Spicy Mexican Jalapeno & Lime Dry Rub for a bit more spice. These balls are perfect for a light lunch, or as a starter or as part of tapas!
I will not bore you with the details of making a basic risotto, there are hundreds of great recipes out there to explain this, however the key to a good risotto is a very good stock.
On this occasion we had pea and ham risotto leftover, 680 grams of it, to which we added 20g of Mexican Jalapeno & Lime Rub (nice & spicy) Which made 700g of the mixture, that gave us 16 golf sized balls.
Place your leftover cooling risotto in a plastic container and add the Mexican Jalapeno & Lime Dry Rub, mix well and set in the fridge to chill until needed or overnight. When you are ready take a large baking sheet and cover in no stick baking paper. Using a dessert spoon, or your hands, (messy but fun), portion out 16, roughly the same size, little piles of the mixture on the tray.
Set up your breading station!
Clear a space and have 3 plates in a row, first the flour, then beaten egg, then the breadcrumbs. Wash your hands and leave them wet, its easier to handle the mixture with wet hands. Pick up your first portion, and press one small cube of mozzarella into the centre, cover the cheese with the gooey rice. The better you cover it, the less likely you will get cheese melting out the side, escaping.
Drop the ball carefully into the flour and roll, then into the beaten egg, then into the breadcrumbs and cover all over. Roll between your hands to get a nice ball shape. If your mixture is too wet and will not hold a ball, add a little flour to thicken. Place back on the tray and repeat. You might need to wash your hands after doing every four balls, it’s a sticky finger job. Once all balls are done, place the tray in the fridge to chill them for at least 30 minutes.
When you are ready to cook, heat up your oil, deep frying is best for this; you want to reach 200c. Pre heat your oven to 160c, this is for keeping the cooked balls warm while the finish the others, you only want to fry 4-5 balls at a time, so they have enough room. Test your oil is hot enough by dropping a tiny piece of bread in the fat, you want it sizzling away straight away. Once hot enough place your first 4 balls in, they should take around 8-10 minutes, keep checking them, so they don’t overdo, you are looking for a golden coating. Take another baking tray and cover in paper towels. Once done, transfer the balls to the tray and place in the oven, repeat for the rest of the balls.
Serve your Crispy Cheesy Fried Risotto Balls either on their own or as part of a meze. We serve ours with a green salad and any dips or sauces that we have lying around at the time. Such as; Carolina BBQ is sweet and tangy or our Piri Piri Ketchup is really great with this, you get a nice sweet kick . Or even try our Blue Cheese Dip! They are really nice cold too, straight out of the fridge. If they last around that long of course.