As winter has officially drawn in and it’s blooming freezing outside the need for tasty, comforting (fattening) food is obvious. Not one to shy away from eating a little bit- or a lot- of what I fancy, especially now the festive season is in full swing, these mozzarella arancini are the perfect indulgent treat. Think night-in snuggled on the sofa with a glass of vino or three and a plate of these on the table.
Arancini are the ultimate way to give leftover risotto a new lease of life and for this recipe I used a lemon and spicy butternut squash one from the night before- but most other flavours would also work. You can experiment with alternative fillings such as vegetables or different cheeses but personally I think it’s hard to beat the classic melted mozzarella.
I shallow fry my arancini as I find they still go lovely and crisp but if you prefer you can also deep fry them (use about 2 litres of oil and cook for around 2 minutes). I also add a fair amount of lemon juice because I love the zesty flavour but this can be lessened or omitted to taste.
leftover risotto (as much as you have left!) – I used lemon and spicy butternut squash flavoured
- 250g dried breadcrumbs
- a bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Juice of 1 lemon plus 1 more to serve
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 125g buffalo mozzarella
- vegetable oil (enough to cover the base of a heavy-bottomed frying pan)
How to make:
- Mix half of the breadcrumbs into the risotto in order to help it bind (some people also use egg if you are having trouble making it stick but I didn’t find it necessary). Also add the chopped parsley and lemon juice.
- Take a large spoonful of the risotto and shape in your hands to form a flattened disc. Put a cube of mozzarella into the centre of the disc and squeeze the risotto around the cheese to form a tight ball or oblong.
- Roll the arancini in the remaining breadcrumbs to coat and repeat until all of the risotto has been used.
- Heat the oil in the heavy-bottomed frying pan (or deep pan if deep frying) and gently lower the arancini into the oil in batches and fry until golden, turning them over intermittently.
- Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Serve immediately with some more chopped parsley and an extra squeeze of lemon juice.