(recipe, Jo Glynn & Sophie Braimbridge)
The name of this Sicilian dish means “little oranges.”
- Large pinch of saffron threads
- 1 cup white wine
- 7 Tbsp. butter
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 large garlic clove, crushed
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 2 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves, diced
- 1 cup risotto rice
- ½ cup Parmesan, grated
- ⅔ cup mozzarella or fontina, cut into cubes
- ¾ cup dried breadcrumbs
- Oil for deep-frying
- Leave the saffron to soak in the wine while you prepare the risotto. Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and cook over low heat for 3 to 4 minutes until softened but not browned. Heat the stock to a simmer in another saucepan.
- Add the thyme and rice to the onion and cook, stirring, for 1 minute to seal the rice. Add the wine and saffron and stir until the wine is all absorbed. Add several ladles of the hot stock, stirring continuously so that the rice cooks evenly. Keep adding enough stock to just cover the rice, stirring frequently. Continue in this way for 20 minutes, or until the rice is creamy.
- For arancini it is not so essential to keep the rice al dente. Add more water or chicken stock if the rice is not fully cooked. Make sure all this liquid is absorbed. Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan, then spread out onto a baking sheet covered with plastic wrap. Leave to cool and, if possible, leave in the fridge overnight.
- To make the arancini, roll a small amount of risotto into a walnut-sized ball. Press a hole in the middle with your thumb, place a small piece of cheese inside, and press the risotto around it to enclose in a ball. Repeat with the rest of the risotto. Roll each ball in the breadcrumbs, pressing down to coat well.
- Heat enough oil in a deep-fat fryer or deep frying pan to fully cover the arancini. Heat the oil to 350 degrees, or until a piece of bread fries golden brown in 15 seconds when dropped in the oil. Deep-fry the arancini in batches, without crowding, for 3 to 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels and leave for a couple of minutes before eating. Serve hot or at room temperature.
This dish works equally well with leftover risotto.