Arancini

I usually cook in the evening, double portions so that I can take one portion to work for lunch the next day. These last couple of weeks I haven’t felt like cooking at all. It was too hot, I was too lazy, I was too tired… there’s always an excuse if you want to find one.

The other day, though, I found my way back to the stove and made tomato risotto. The double portion turned out to be at least a triple portion because there wasn’t much risotto rice left in the jar, so I chucked it all in the pot. Knowing that I wouldn’t want to eat tomato risotto for more than two days in a row, and that I’m not a freezer person, I was wondering what I could make from the leftover risotto.

I’d always wanted to make arancini but never did, so this was the opportunity. I looked at an online recipe, just to see what the basics were, and decided to make my own version. I wanted to avoid the deep-frying, though, but decided that frying the arancini in the pan wouldn’t get the same result and they wouldn’t heat through.

Ingredient- and measurement-wise this was one big improvisation. I had about 4 cups of risotto left, to which I added 2 eggs, a handful of chopped basil, one large chopped red chilli, about 1 cup grated parmesan, ½ cup fine breadcrumbs, and lots of freshly ground black pepper. I was actually considering adding fried bacon rashers, torn into pieces, but couldn’t be bothered to do more frying. Although I can imagine it would have tasted great.

Then I just mixed everything together (wearing rubber gloves because of the chillies!), formed little balls from the mixture, rolled each in coarse breadcrumbs and deep-fried them in about 2 – 3 cm / 1 in of hot sunflower oil. Let them dry on kitchen paper and serve with any sauce you fancy. I had an open jar of Tangerine Ginger Sauce and a bottle of Blackberry Balsamic Sauce. The latter didn’t really appeal in the end, but the tangerine ginger sauce went really well with the arancini.

Would I make this again? Not sure. I really liked the taste of it, and it was a great way to use up the leftover risotto, but the deep-frying bit is just not my thing. I try to avoid fried stuff and I don’t care for the task of frying because I find it time-consuming and boring. If I could order this in a restaurant, though, I’d definitely have it…

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