Stuffed saffron risotto fritters (Arancini di riso)
- September 2006
- Serves 8-10 for nibbles
- Takes about 1 hour to make, plus cooling and chilling
- 1-1.2 litres fresh chicken stock
- Small pinch of saffron strands
- 45g unsalted butter
- 250g arborio or carnaroli risotto rice
- 1 large egg yolk
- 25g Grana Padano, finely grated
- 2 thin slices good-quality cooked ham, coarsely chopped
- 75g mozzarella, cut into tiny cubes
- Sunflower or vegetable oil, for deep-frying
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 150g fresh white breadcrumbs
- Put the stock and saffron in a large saucepan and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and leave to simmer gently.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium pan over a low heat, add the rice and stir well until all the grains are coated in butter. Add a ladleful of the hot stock and simmer gently, stirring constantly, until it has all been absorbed. Continue adding stock in this way for 20-25 minutes, until the rice is tender and creamy but still al dente.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the egg yolk, grated cheese and some seasoning to taste. Pour into a shallow baking tray, press cling film onto the surface and leave to go cold, then chill for 2 hours.
- Make the arancini. Using slightly wet hands, divide the risotto into 30g pieces. Take 1 piece of risotto and flatten to a small disc. Put a large pinch of chopped ham and a few pieces of mozzarella into the centre and shape the rice around the filling into a ball, patching up any gaps with a little more risotto, if necessary. Repeat to make about 20.
- Heat a deep-fat fryer or some oil in a large, deep saucepan to 180°C. (To test the temperature, a cube of bread added to the oil should brown in 40 seconds.) Coat the risotto balls in beaten egg, then breadcrumbs and deep-fry in batches for 3-4 minutes, until crisp and golden. Drain on kitchen paper and serve hot.
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