Cold days require warm food!
I just love to eat these, they are also some of the best things I’ve served on small plates in our old wine bar, and before dinner parties as finger food and just as a really tasty snack.
I’m talking about Arancini which are delicious, crispy, deep-fried balls of rice. Invented in the 10th century in Sicily eaten only on the 13th of December for Feast of Santa Lucia, where pasta or bread is not eaten.
Traditionally served with a basic meat filling and a tomato sauce poured over the top.
Today you can pretty much flavour them with anything:
Winter mushroom & smoked mozzarella
Smoked fish & spring onion
Braised duck & Redwine
Rocket & goats cheese
A handy little tip, if you are making risotto for a meal, make a little bit more, refrigerate it and then roll into balls the next morning, before crumbing and cooking.
- ½ small pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and cut into large chunks
- 250g boneless lamb shoulder chops
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1½ cups risotto rice
- 2 cups warm vegetable stock
- ½ cup finely grated good quality parmesan
- 2 tbsp flour
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup panko crumbs
- black pepper
- canola oil for deep frying
Preheat oven to 150*C. Place pumpkin in a large pot of salted water and bring to the boil. Cook until soft, drain and cover with a tea towel for 5 minutes to dry out. Mash pumpkin until smooth and set aside. Season lamb with salt and pepper and sear in a hot pan until just coloured. Wrap in tin foil, and cook in the oven for 30 minutes.
Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent. Add rice and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Gradually add the stock, allowing the rice to absorb it between each addition. Mix in cooked pumpkin and parmesan once all stock has been added. Season to taste and lay risotto mix out on a large tray. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
Heat canola oil in a deep fryer to 180*C. Remove lamb from the oven, rest for 5 minutes, then shred lamb back into cooking juices. Roll rice into 10-12 balls, inserting equal amounts of shredded lamb into the centre of each. Coat each ball in flour, then egg, then panko crumbs. Deep fry until golden and serve with Dijon salsa verde.
Dijon salsa verde (makes 1 cup)
- ½ cup basil leaves, chopped
- ½ cup Italian parsley, chopped
- 2 tbsp baby capers, drained and chopped
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp finely grated parmesan
- 2 tbsp avocado oil
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
Place basil, parsley, capers, garlic and lemon zest in a bowl. Add enough olive oil to make the mixture wet. Add parmesan, remaining olive oil, avocado oil and mustard. Add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Store in a jar in the fridge until ready to use.