Brace yourselves for gratuitous deep fried food porn...
I originally made these for my favourite (and only) vegetarian friend and they were a surprise hit with my fellow carnivores as well! I have two varieties here; Spinach and Goats Cheese and Mozzarella and Vegetable Ragu. I served them with a spicy Sriracha mayo but that's totally optional and only really there due to my unholy addiction to the stuff.
Recipe after the jump!
These can be made with ANY fillings you desire. Leftover stews and pasta sauces make great fillings. You can also make these gluten free by using gluten free flour and breadcrumbs for the coating and dairy free by leaving out the butter and parmesan in the risotto and using a lactose friendly cheese in your filling or omitting it altogether. This recipe is admittedly, a little time consuming but is very, very easy. It also makes enough to feed a small army and freezes well so you can stash some away and whip them out to impress visiting VIPs.
Mini Vegetarian Arancini
Makes 50 golf ball sized arancini
1 small brown onion, finely chopped
500g Arborio rice
1 L Stock (Chicken or Vegetable), heated in the microwave
50g Grated Parmesan
Spinach & Goats Cheese:
2 cups baby spinach
1 garlic clove
50g goats cheese, cut into tiny cubes
Ragu & Mozzarella:
1/2 zucchini, finely chopped
2 small fire roasted peppers, finely chopped (I bought these in a jar from the antipasto section of the supermarket. Life is too damn short to make your own!)
1 garlic clove
1/2 brown onion, finely chopped
1 cup tomato puree
4-5 basil leaves, coarsely chopped
50g mozzarella, cut into tiny cubes
1 cup flour
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
500ml vegetable oil for frying
First things first, make your fillings. Wilt the spinach in a pan with the garlic and a tiny splash of olive oil. Allow to cool then chop roughly and set aside. For the ragu, saute the garlic and onion in olive oil and add the zucchini and peppers and cook till the vegetables are soft. Add the tomato puree and stew until sauce is thickened. Stir through the chopped basil leaves and season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool.
For the risotto, melt the butter in a little olive oil to stop it burning and saute the onion till it just begins to colour. You can add some saffron at this stage to give the risotto a gorgeous golden colour but its totally optional. Add the rice to the onion mix and stir till every grain is coated in oil. Add the stock in a little at a time, making sure to stir after each addition and ensuring the liquid is absorbed before adding more. Once risotto has absorbed all the liquid and is thickened, stir through the grated parmesan. take off the heat and allow to cool. Once cool stir through the egg.
Once everything is cool enough to handle, take a small ice cream scoop and scoop small balls of risotto. With wet hands, flatten into a disc and add filling of choice (For the spinach version, I actually mixed the chopped spinach through the risotto before dividing into balls) along with a cube of cheese then mold around the filling to form a small ball. Place on a baking paper lined cookie sheet. Continue until all the risotto is finished. I like to freeze the balls at this stage so they're easier to crumb but you can skip this. Crumb the balls by rolling in flour, dipping in beaten egg mixed with water and finish by rolling in breadcrumbs. Return to the freezer until ready to use or deep fry in vegetable oil until golden.
Serve immediately on their own or with the dipping sauce of your choice. Enjoy!
Over and out!