What do you make with leftover risotto? Arancini of course. Or fried risotto balls to the unitiated. I almost never have any leftover risotto so this was a first for me but, since I’ve been working on a Sicilian cookbook full of such delicious treats I thought I’d try them. Now the proper way to do them is via deep-frying and with something like mozzarella stuffed inside them. Since I have neither deep-fat fryer nor any mozzarella in the fridge I followed the cheat’s way: I put a bit of soft goat’s cheese inside them, then rolled them, as is right and proper, first in flour then in beaten egg (leftover from a weekend meringue-making session) then in breadcrumbs (the ultimate in leftovers). Heated up some olive oil, fried them all over (squishing them flatter since they were a bit big) then ate them with (yet more leftovers) some gremolata. The making of them and using everything up made me feel so virtuous; devouring several made me feel decidedly less so…
There’s not point giving you an ingredients list for these since the amounts required will depend on how much risotto you have in the first place. Let’s have some before and after photos instead.
The joy of arancini is the way their crunchy coating contrasts with the softness of the rice so don’t get too hung up on proportions. If you have some risotto but no soft cheese it doesn’t really matter (unless you’re a purist who has to do everything by the numbers and, if so, you are definitely on the wrong website). The most important thing is the three-stage dipping. Roll up the balls of rice (don’t make them too big or they will become unmanageable and hard to cook properly), dip them first in plain flour then in beaten egg then in breadcrumbs. If you have time, chill them before frying. When you fry them make sure that you cook them at a high heat and check that they are hot in the middle. Oh and make your breadcrumbs a bit finer than mine; the finer the better I’d say.