2.5 fresh mozzarella balls, cut into 5 pieces
1.5 litres vegetable stock
1 small onion, finely chopped
130g Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 egg, beaten
sprigs of parsley and basil to garnish
olive oil for cooking
For the risotto:
In a small saucepan, heat the stock and keep it simmering. In a heavy pot, sauté the onion in oil till golden. Add the wine, stir, and simmer until it is reduced. Add the raw rice and stir with a wooden spoon. When the rice is evenly coated with oil and almost ready to stick, add a ladleful of hot stock. Stir. For the next 20 or so minutes, keep stirring and adding enough hot stock to wet the rice, but not drown it. When the risotto is al dente, take it off the heat. Stir in the grated Parmesan, salt and pepper. Allow to cool before mixing in some or all of the egg – just enough to bind the mixture.
For the balls:
Wet your hands with cold water and shake off the excess. Make a bed of risotto on the palm of one hand, put a tablespoon of ragù into the centre, close your hand and complete the ball with a little more risotto. Press the ball firmly so that it will hold its shape during cooking. Carry on until you have about 5 balls the size of small oranges. To make the mozzarella arancini, simply place a piece of mozzarella in the centre, instead of ragù.
Coat each ball in breadcrumbs. Deep-fry for about 5 minutes, until golden.
Arancini are easy to eat as deli or bar food. For an antipasto or first course, they’re delicious served with a little pot of pepolata (grilled pepper) sauce on the side. Garnish the ragù balls with a sprig of parsley, and top the mozzarella balls with a leaf or two of basil.