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🍴Recipe | Arancini with Ham, Pea & Mint 😋

The first time I had arancini was at a cafe in Palermo in the Northwest of Sicily where all things arancini-wise really don't get much better. I fell in love with these delciously guilty snacks immediately. These lovely balls of fried rice are basically how the Italians use up leftover risotto and can be eaten as a snack, an appetiser or as part of a main meal and there are soooooo many flavour combos available!

Check out my own recipe below. These are such a treat!



For the Risotto:

1700 ml vegtable stock (1 1/2 quarts)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 cups Arborio risotto rice

1 smally finely diced yellow onion

1/2 cup of dry white wine

1/2 cup of finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1 cup diced ham

1 cup frozen garden peas

10 mint leaves, finely sliced

For the Arancini:

1 batch risotto, chilled in the fridge overnight (or any leftovers you have!)

2/3 cup flour

1 lightly beaten egg

1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs

Vegtable oil to fill a 20 liter cast iron casserole pan for frying



For the Risotto:

Pour the stock into a pot and bring to a simmer. Add the olive oil to a 24 cm casserole dish (or similar pot) and bring to a medium heat. Add the onion to the pan with the oilive oil and cook until the onion is translucent.

Add the Arborio rice to the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes until the rice starts to darken slightly. Now it's time to add the white wine. Stir the rice until all of the wine is absorbed. Next comes the part that is simply a painstaking labour of love. Ladel the simmering stock, one ladel at a time, until all of the stock is absorbed by the rice. This will probably take 20-30 minutes but must be done in order to get the right consistancy. The risotto should be slightly soupy.

Turn off the stove and stir in the cheese until combined. Lastly, add in the ham, thawed peas and mint. Stir and serve immediately. Leftovers can go in the fridge for a few days or even in the freezer.

For the Arancini:

First, make sure your risotto has been chilled in the fridge overnight as it will help it to stick together. This is kind of messy so make sure you have clean hands. Simply shape the risotto mixture into balls. I like to make mine just a little smaller than a baseball. Once you have shaped all of the risotto into balls, put them on a plate and stick them in the fridge for another 30 minutes. This will help them to set before frying.

Next, get 3 large plates ready. Place the flour on the first plate, the beaten egg on the second plate and the panko bread crumbs on the third plate. At the same time, heat the vegtable oil to a medium-high heat in a 20 cm cast iron casserole pan. You can test whether the oil is hot enough for frying by throwing piece of bread into it. If the bread fries, you are good to go.

Pre-heat your oven to 100c and get a sheet pan ready. Remove the risotto balls from the fridge and one by one, coat them first in the flour, then in the egg and finally (generously) in the panko bread crumbs. As mentioned before, test a small piece of bread in the oil to ensure it is hot enough.

Now it's time to fry! Using a metal slotted spoon, lower 3 balls at a time into the oil and let them fry for about 4-5 minutes until they are slightly brown and heated through. Remove the balls with the metal spoon and place them first on paper towels (kitchen roll) to drain and then onto the sheet pan in the warm oven untill all of the arancini are cooked through.

Time to serve! I love eating these on their own, with a spicy arrabiata sauce or with a simple green salad on the side. An absolute treat! You can store the arancini in the fridge for up to 2 days and simply reheat in an oven for a few minutes at 200 c. They crisp right back up!

Also, you can make this recipe to suit whatever you like. I love them with a little mozzerella stuffed inside, with goats cheese and beetroot....or simply Milanese style simply infused with gorgeous saffron.

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