One of the most enjoyable things about food blogging is its innate ability to furnish one with a wider knowledge of food, via the community. Though no one blog has influenced, or inspired me, in a particularly direct sense, certain ideas, as well as types of food, do tend to rub-off onto my gastronomic sleeve fairly frequently. Of course, that doesn’t mean that none of you are inspirational, you most certainly are, only that my blog has a very distinct drive and direction. This dish marks just one of the many culinary blotches which reside upon my metaphorical garments and I am so glad that it decided to transfer itself so vividly. Indeed, though they take a little time, care and preparation, arancini, which are essentially crispy balls of risotto, are exceptionally delicious, almost to the point of fatal delirium.
As has just been mentioned, arancini are balls of rice covered by breadcrumbs. It seems that such an effect is usually achieved by deep-fat frying. However, preparing food in such a way is not, in my opinion, particularly appealing; especially since baking does a better job. If followed correctly, this recipe will produce the crunchiest balls ever to have graced the mouths of WordPress’ most fervent food bloggers. The risotto, as if by magic, manages to remain remarkably gooey, yet stable; whilst the outer surface of egg and breadcrumbs forms an impressive protective shell. In truth, no recipe was remotely consulted when approaching these spherical delights; the addition of rosemary was as much inspired by Captain Corelli’s Mandolin as it was by personal preference. Of course, one may deep fat fry these if they so wish. However, such action is inadvisable since the world could do without another hardened artery.
Baked Rosemary and Garlic Arancini
Makes 10-12 balls
• 150g arborio rice
• 400-500ml vegetable stock
• 100ml dry white wine
• 1 small onion, finely chopped
• 2 cloves of garlic, mashed
• 2 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
• A handful of parmesan, roughly 50g
• A small knob of butter
• Plenty of breadcrumbs, enough to cover the balls
• A little flour, plain is good
• 1 egg, beaten
• Olive oil
1. Begin by frying the onions in a little olive oil. After 5 minutes add the garlic and ¾ of the rosemary, cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the rice and cook for an extra minute or so. Pour in the wine and cook until it has been absorbed. Then begin to add the stock little by little until it has all been absorbed and the rice has a little bite to it. Take the risotto off the heat and stir in the butter and parmesan. Pop the lid on the pan and set aside for 2-3 minutes. Now, transfer it to a bowl, allow it to cool and leave it in the fridge overnight, or for at least 2 hours.
2. By now the risotto should be easy to shape into balls. Do this, it should make 10-12 balls, and pop them back in the fridge of 10 minutes. Heat the oven to 200C and mix the breadcrumbs with the remaining rosemary and a little seasoning. Roll each ball consecutively in the flour, then the egg and finally the breadcrumbs – ensure an even coating. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until golden and crispy. Eat immediately with a lovely fresh salad.
Cost: The transformation of the risotto into arancini should cost on next to nothing; this makes the prospect particularly enticing. So, overall this meal, not including salad, should set one back £1.80 or so – not bad considering it is enough for 3-4 people. Indeed, they are surprisingly filling.