MOZZARELLA ARANCINI WITH SWEET & SPICY MARINARA

By: Donal Skehan

Cheese stuffed rice balls, deep-fried until golden brown.

Takes: 35mins Serves: 16

Ingredients

- 1 tbsp olive oil

- 1 onion, finely diced

- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped

- 200g arborio or risotto rice

- 250ml white wine

- 750ml vegetable stock

- 75g pecorino, finely grated

- ½ x 150g ball mozzarella, cut into 20 pieces

- 150g panko breadcrumbs

- 50g flour

- 50g flour

FOR THE SAUCE

- 250ml passata

- 3 tbsp hot sauce

- ½ tsp garlic powder

- Small handful basil leaves

- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over a low heat. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and sauté for 6-8 minutes until softened without colour, add the arborio rice and toss to coat. Pour in the white wine, let it bubble away for a couple of minutes until reduced, stirring regularly. Add the hot stock, little by little until it is all used up and the rice has cooked, this will take about 20 minutes. Make sure each amount you add is soaked up before adding the next. Stir through the pecorino, season to taste then spread the risotto in an even layer on a tray lined with parchment paper. Cover with cling film and chill for at least 2 hours.

2. To form the arancini, scoop a portion of the cooled risotto into your hand. For a pattie with 2" in diameter approximately and place a piece of mozzarella into the centre. Repeat to give you 20 in total. Place on a tray in the freezer for at least an hour until solidified to ensure they hold their shape.

3. Once ready to cook, heat a large saucepan a third full with oil or deep enough to cover the arancini once submersed and allow to reach a temperature of 180˚C. Once it has almost come up to temperature add the flour, egg and panko to three separate bowls. Toss the arancini in the flour, followed by the egg and then the breadcrumbs. Placing on a tray as you go. Deep-fry in batches of 5 for 5-6 minutes, or until golden and crispy. Transfer to a double layer of kitchen paper to drain.

4. Combine the passata, hot sauce and garlic powder in a small saucepan and bring to a rolling simmer, simmer for 2-3 minutes, remove from the heat. Serve the arancini on a platter alongside the sauce and a scattering of basil leaves.

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