Classic Arancini with Spicy Arrabbiata Sauce by @coxys_kitchen
This arancini recipe has been in my repertoire for many years, but I have never gotten around to making them; until recently that is.
In December I’ll be cooking for a 50th birthday dinner party and my client has requested arancini as the starter. I always test my recipes before cooking for a client and often, even before cooking for friends and family when hosting my own dinner parties – I’m a perfectionist; so only the best will do! One would be forgiven for thinking that arancini is simply risotto moulded into balls, coated in breadcrumbs, then deep-fried, but one would be mistaken. Whilst a risotto has to be lovingly tended to like a newborn baby, cooking rice for arancini is far easier to take care of. Of course, the whole process is a little more labour intensive, due to the various stages involved in creating these delightful balls of flavour.
Having now tried and tested this classic arancini (with no additional filling) recipe, I’ll certainly be trying out lots of other variations. Classic arancini are perfect for pairing with spicy arrabbiata sauce. The absence of any additional filling keeps the arancini flavour simple, but the heat from the chilli in the sauce works so well in contrast to the oozy mozzarella in the rice and together, it’s a match made in heaven.
My client has chosen well, arancini are a perfect dinner party starter, but they also work so well as nibbles or as canapés for a drinks party, if made slightly smaller – a great choice for any occasion.
Makes 20 medium arancini with sauce
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- 1600ml chicken or vegetable stock
- 500g arborio rice
- 1 tsp salt
- Very generous pinch of saffron
- 100g parmesan or veggie alternative, grated
- 300g mozzarella, chopped into small pieces
- 3 eggs
- 200 plain flour
- 600g panko breadcrumbs
- Vegetable oil to cook
- Basil leaves to garnish
Arrabbiata sauce ingredients
- 6 Tbsp olive oil
- 5 Tbsp chilli flakes
- 5 garlic cloves, chopped
- 3 x 400g good quality chopped tinned tomatoes
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper to season
- Place a shallow, glass baking dish into the fridge to chill
- In a large pan heat the stock until boiling, then add the rice, saffron and salt and simmer until all the stock has been absorbed into the rice. Stir occasionally to make sure the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan
- When all the stock has been absorbed, stir in the grated parmesan and season to taste. Pour the rice into the chilled dish and spread it out evenly so that the rice cools quickly. Once most of the heat has evaporated, place the dish in the fridge so the rice cools even faster
- When the rice has chilled, mix in the mozzarella pieces and check the seasoning
- To shape the arancini, take a large tablespoon of rice and roll into a ball using your hands. Rubbing some olive oil on to the palms of your hands will stop the rice from sticking when shaping the arancini. Repeat the process until all of rice has been shaped
OPTION: If using an additional filling such as a ragu, bacon & mushroom, or pesto, add a small spoonful of the filling when shaping the balls, so that the filling sits in the middle
- Take three medium bowls: put the flour into the first one, crack and beat the eggs into the second bowl and add the breadcrumbs to the third
- Take an arancini ball and roll it around in the flour until well coated, then coat in the beaten egg and finally roll in the breadcrumbs until coated all over. Place on a plate and repeat until all of the arancini are coated in breadcrumbs
- To cook the arancini, heat the veg oil in a large pan or deep fat fryer. You will need enough oil to cover the arancini. Heat the oil to 170c – you can test if the oil is hot enough by dropping in a few of the breadcrumbs; if the breadcrumbs sizzle, the oil is ready
- Cook the arancini in batches until golden, serve with the arrabbiata sauce and a sprinkle with basil leaves
Arrabbiata sauce method
Make the arrabbiata sauce while the rice is cooking.
- On a medium heat, heat the oil in a large saucepan, then add the chilli flakes and cook until they start to darken
- Add the chopped garlic and cook for a couple of minutes, taking care not to let it burn
- Stir in the tinned tomatoes and season with salt and pepper
- Simmer the sauce for around 20 minutes, then add the vinegar and season to taste
When serving arrabbiata sauce with arancini I like the sauce to be smooth. You can do this by blitzing it in a liquidiser or blender, but if you prefer your sauce chunky just serve it as it is.
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