Saturday, 2 November 2013


This is my type of food. It’s simple, uses up leftovers and is delicious.

The photo that accompanies this post suggests that the serving that was consumed consisted of three arancini –this was not the case, because you find that you always want “just one more”. I love them and when making risotto, I always deliberately make more than is needed, just so that I have an excuse to make arancini the following day.

Historically, arancini are believed to have originated in Sicily in the 10th Century and are so called because they resemble little oranges after they are deep fried; arancini being the Italian for “little oranges”.

Arancini are basically fried rice balls that are coated in breadcrumbs. The rice usually encases a small amount of meat ragú, but the arancini may also contain peas or, my favourite - little nuggets of mozzarella, which melt temptingly when the arancini are deep fried. Strictly speaking arancini that are filled with cheese are called supplì, which hail from Rome.

I love detective novels…the more surly and dysfunctional the detective , the more hooked I am. My all-time favourite is Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse, but I recently discovered Inspector Montalbano, the fictional Sicilian detective who appears in the novels of Andrea Camilleri. Montalbano loves his food and has an almost obsessive love of arancini.  To be honest, I think that Montalbano’s success rate in solving crime is directly related to his consumption of arancini.


300-500g cold leftover risotto
1 ball of mozzarella, cut into 1.5cm cubes
150g fine panko breadcrumbs
100g plain flour
2 eggs
Flavourless oil for deep-frying


1. Take a large tablespoon of cold risotto and encase a cube of mozzarella in it. Place on a plate lightly dusted with some flour. Continue making mozzarella-filled balls until all the risotto has been used up. I find that it is a good idea at this stage to cover the plate of rice balls and to refrigerate them for at least an hour before proceeding to the next stage.
2. Put the plain flour and the breadcrumbs into two separate bowls. Crack the eggs into a third bowl and whisk lightly with a fork to break them up.
3. Take the rice balls out of the fridge and individually dip each one first in flour, then in the egg mixture and finally in the breadcrumb. They should be completely covered in breadcrumbs. Cover and place on a plate in the fridge if you do not intend to deep fry them immediately.
4. To finish, heat up the oil in a deep fat fryer until it reaches 180C. Then drop the arancini in and cook in batches of 6 or7 for about four minutes until they are a deep golden colour. Remove from the deep fat fryer when cooked and drain on kitchen-roll. Leave in a warm place whilst you fry the remaining arancini.

Serve with green salad.

Serves: This depends on how much risotto you used, but I usually serve 3 per person as a starter.