We have many fond memories of making and eating arancini (also known as rice balls) in Italy as children. These creamy, cheesy bites are great on their own but taste even better served with our fresh herbed tomato sauce.
Technique tip: Always use wet hands to roll arancini balls. They will stick and fall apart if your hands are too dry.
Swap option: Use cooked meat or different types of cheese for the arancini filling.
For the arancini:1.
In a large saucepan, bring the vegetable stock to a simmer over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and keep the stock hot.2.
In a large, deep, heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil. Add the shallots and cook, stirring frequently for about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter. Add the wine and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, around 2 minutes. Add a ladle of the vegetable stock and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking the rice, adding the stock a ladle at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of the stock to absorb before adding the next. Cook the rice until tender but still al dente and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, add the Parmigiano Reggiano, mascarpone, season with salt and pepper, add a little extra butter, mix well and leave to cool.3.
Once the risotto is cooled, roll into balls the size of golf balls, with damp hands. Push a piece of mozzarella into the middle of each ball, making sure that the cheese is completely enclosed. Leave to set in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or overnight.4.
Lay out 3 plates or shallow bowls. Put the flour (seasoned with a pinch of salt and pepper) in one, beaten eggs in another and the breadcrumbs in the final one.5.
In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, pour in enough oil to fill the pan about 1/3 of the way or use a deep fat fryer. Heat over medium heat until a deep-frying thermometer inserted in the oil reaches 350°F.6.
Dip the Arancini ball into the flour, then into the egg and finish by coating completely in the breadcrumbs. Repeat with the remaining balls.7.
Working in batches, fry the rice balls, turning occasionally, until golden, about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
For the twinatastico sexy sauce:
Add the oil and garlic to a large pan on a medium heat and cook until the garlic sizzles and turns golden. Then add the tomato puree and the chopped basil and sage. Season with salt and pepper and stir. Simmer for about 45 minutes until the sauce reduces and thickens. Serve with the arancini balls.