Margherita risotto balls

These deep-fried, arancini patties, made with tomato arborio rice, have moreish melting mozzarella cheese middles.

  • Prep:10 mins
    Cook:1 hrs
  • More effort

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 281
  • fat 11g
  • saturates 3g
  • carbs 35.3g
  • sugars 3.6g
  • fibre 1.6g
  • protein 8.3g
  • salt 0.6g


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 500ml passata
  • 850ml vegetable stock
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 300g arborio rice
  • small glass of white wine
  • 25g Parmesan (or vegetarian alternative), grated
  • knob of butter
  • 3 tbsp roughly chopped basil
  • 125g ball mozzarella, cut into 12 pieces
  • 75g seasoned flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 125g pack dried breadcrumbs
  • 1½ l oil, for deep-frying
  • rocket, to serve


  1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan. Add the onion, cover and sweat until soft. In another pan, mix the passata and stock, and warm over a low heat.

  2. Add the garlic to the onion, cook for 30 secs, then tip in the rice and stir to coat in the oil. Increase the heat, pour in the wine and let it simmer until absorbed. Keeping the pan over a medium heat, start adding the tomato stock mixture to the rice a ladleful at a time, letting the rice absorb most of the liquid after each addition. Keep stirring as you go, adding liquid until the rice is al dente – you may not need all the liquid. You don’t want this to be as wet as a normal risotto, so keep cooking until your wooden spoon can stand up in it. Turn off the heat, stir through the Parmesan, butter and basil, then cover for 5 mins. Season and tip onto a tray to cool completely, then chill until firm.

  3. Shape the risotto into 12 large balls. Make a hole in the centre with your finger and stuff in a piece of mozzarella, then reshape into a ball. Now start a little production line, dipping the balls in the flour, then the egg and coating with the breadcrumbs – then chill for 30 mins.

  4. Heat the oil to 160C in a large deep saucepan and heat the oven to 180C/160 fan/gas 4. Deep-fry the risotto balls for 8-10 mins – you’ll need to do this in batches. Drain on kitchen paper, then transfer to a tray and pop in the oven for 6-8 mins to make sure the mozzarella is completely melted. Sprinkle with salt, then leave to cool for a few moments before tucking in. Serve with some dressed rocket.

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