Saturday, 31 May 2014

Homemade arancini with red onion and balsamic marmalade (using leftover risotto)

When dining at an Italian, arancini has to be one of my favourite starters! Delicious fried breaded risotto balls, stuffed with cheese, usually topped with a tangy marmalade of some sort. I am salivating a little just writing about these tasty balls [insert your crude joke here…].

Every time I have arancini, I feel like I want to try this recipe, but it just seems the kind of food that is going to be really difficult to make yourself so in all honesty I have never even considered it. But then I had quick google and realised that it is actually pretty simple!!! In essence, all you have to do is roll up some risotto, stuff it will a bit of cheese, coat in breadcrumbs and fry!

crispy arancini and onion marmalade 

Plus it is the perfect way to use up leftover risotto, because even though you can save risotto for leftovers, it can become quite dry when you reheat it. It is also quite a good starter to wow any dinner guests with – it is such a tasty dish plus you can prepare the balls before anyone arrives.

If you are looking for a simple risotto, then try my recipe that I blogged about a wee while back.

Here is how to make these easy balls of deliciousness. Be warned though – these are messy little buggers to make, and your kitchen will look like a little rice bomb has gone off on your kitchen counter!

oh arancini, I do love thee! 

For the arancini:
500 grams or a large tupperwear box of leftover risotto
Ball of mozzarella (cut up into ½ inch cubes)
Bowl of flour
Bowl of breadcrumbs
Bowl of beaten eggs (about 3)
Sunflower or vegetable oil for shallow frying

For the onion marmalade:
1 red onion, sliced finely
Olive oil
1 tbsp of palm sugar
1 tbsp of red wine vinegar
1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar

the Boy liked these - he ate 3/4 of the batch! 

To make the arancini balls …

Place about a 1/3 of a cup or so of the risotto in to your palm but make sure you have wet hands for this otherwise they’ll stick.

Place a piece of the mozzarella into the centre and roll up into a ball, ensuring that the cheese is in the centre and covered all around with the rice.

Keep making the balls until you have used up all the risotto.

In three bowls, lay out your ‘breading’ line – a bowl each for the flour, egg and breadcrumb.

the breading line! 

Take a ball, and coat in the flour, then the egg and then the breadcrumbs.
Dust off any excess crumbs.  Once breaded, place on a tray…

this is a messy job! 

Once you have rolled up all the balls, and they are placed on a tray, leave to ‘set’ in the fridge for about 30-60 minutes.

leave in the fridge to firm up

In a deep pan or wok, heat about 3-4 inches of oil – to test if it is hot enough, drop a tiny clump of breadcrumbs into the oil. If it sizzles madly then it is ready to fry!

Fry about 3-4 arancini balls at a time, try not to overcrowd the pan, regularly turning them to make sure that they are evenly cooked to have that gorgeous golden colour to them.

Once cooked, carefully remove the arancini balls and place on kitchen towel to soak up any excess oil.

love the gooey cheese oozing out the middle! 

The sticky onion marmalade:

Whilst the arancini are being cooked, you can make a start on the onion marmalade that accompanies them. I found that it is best to cook this low and slow, and not to blast it on a high heat as quick as possible (which to be honest is my usual “cooking” style).

In a pan, heat a little olive oil* and sauté the onion along with the seasoning, sugar, red wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar over a medium heat. The aim of the game here is to reduce this to a sticky jam like consistency. You may need to keep adding a bit of water to keep reducing it.

this will finally reduce to a sticky sauce 

Once everything is ready, pile the arancini high and top with the red onion marmalade! I served mine as a main and not a starter as we had so many between just the two of us but it actually worked well – we accompanied this with a green salad with grilled aubergine.

I found that at first I was making these too big, so my rice to cheese ration was actually too much. You don’t need that much rice to cover the cheese completely and I think I prefer more a gooey cheese centre in the middle and a thinner rice edge.  Personal preference though, so make the arancini to your taste.

I served mine with an aubergine salad 

Serve your arancini as a starter or even as a main, with a heap of fresh green salad. Mmmm

X x X

*use olive oil for cooking with and extra virgin olive oil for dressing and drizzling

note: I also tried to bake these for a healthier version - it did work but didn't give the golden brown coating! 

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