In my attempt to be a little more organised in feeding my family, I try to make easy to eat after school snacks for Barnaby, that don’t involve custard creams or crisps. Sometimes, it’s really difficult to have proper food to hand, and we all end up relying on not-so-great snacks. However, as with most things, with a little forward planning, proper after school eating can be achieved- and these arancini are absolutely perfect for such occasions. Of course, they are also perfect for any other snacks: with drinks, in lunchboxes: anywhere really. I have used a basic risotto here, that I make with pancetta. Use anything in your risotto, but just make sure that it is a fairly stiff risotto (I cook my risotto, to be used for arancini, for a little longer than usual). Refrigerate overnight, if you can, and then make the arancini: the risotto rolls into better balls, I find, after a night’s resting.
Makes about 12 balls
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, microplaned
2 tbsp olive oil
100g pancetta cubes
1 cup Arborio or carnaroli rice
1 tsp marigold stock powder
2 ½ cups water
½ cup parmesan
Maldon salt to taste
Good grinding black pepper
½ cup polenta
300ml groundnut oil
Heat the olive oil and 20g of the butter in a saucepan or pot., and add the onion and garlic. Saute for ten minutes. Add the rice and pancetta, and keep stirring over a medium heat for about 4 minutes or so, until the rice begins to brown ever so slightly. Then add the Marigold, and begin adding the water, half a cup or so at a time, stirring between each addition to ensure the water is absorbed properly. This will take a while, about 25 minutes or so, but is worth the trouble. Once all of the water has been absorbed, remove the rice from the heat, stir in 20g of butter and the parmesan and season to taste. Refrigerate overnight.
When you are ready to make the arancini, take the rice out of the fridge. Roll into golf ball sized balls: but make sure that you leave a small little bit of risotto behind: you will use this to test the oil later. Coat the balls in the polenta. Allow them to come to room temperature, which will take about 20 minutes or so.
Heat the groundnut oil until very very hot: I use the little reserved bit of risotto to test the oil: it should puff up and sizzle as it hits the oil. Fry the balls for about 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove with tongs or a slotted spoon and allow to drain on kitchen towel. Sprinkle with salt and parsley and you are ready to go. These are great served with a tomato dipping sauce, or mayonnaise too.