Deep-Fried Risotto Balls

Jean Christophe Novelli's wonderfully creamy risotto is wrapped around cheese cubes, then deep fried until crisp and served with a tasty red pepper salsa
By Jean-Christophe Novelli
Deep-Fried Risotto Balls
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: medium


For the risotto balls

  • 50 g butter
  • 100 g finely diced onions
  • 300 g risotto rice
  • 220 ml white wine
  • 670 ml hotvegetable or chicken stock
  • 300 g mozzarella, cubed
  • 3 tbsp tapenade
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 15 g sun-dried tomatoes
  • a few basil
  • 200 g plain flour
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 500 g dried breadcrumbs
  • oil, for deep-frying

For the red pepper salsa

  • 3 red peppers, skinned and seeds removed
  • 1/2 red chillies
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 85 g blanched flaked almonds
  • 1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 125 ml olive oil
  • 25 g parmesan, grated

To serve

  • rocket
  • slices lemons


1. Melt the butter in a large pan and when hot add the onion, a third of the garlic and cook gently for 3 minutes. Do not allow to brown. Stir in the rice.

2. Add the white wine and cook, stirring until the wine is absorbed completely.

3. Gradually add the hot stock, stirring constantly until the rice is cooked.

4. Add the tapenade, sun dried tomatoes, basil and the remaining garlic and stir well.

5. Spread the mixture out on a tray to cool quickly.

6. When cool enough to handle, take a small amount of mixture in the palm of your hand and shape into a flattened disc. Put a cube of mozzarella into the centre of the disc and squeeze the risotto around the cheese to form a tight ball.

7. Repeat the process using the rest of the risotto and cheese cubes. Roll the balls in the flour until well coated.

8. Roll the balls first in the beaten egg, then in the breadcrumbs. Shake off the excess.

9. Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer and cook the risotto balls until golden brown.

10. To make the red pepper salsa; preheat the oven to 230C/gas 8.

11. To skin the peppers; put the peppers on a baking tray with a pinch each of sugar, salt and pepper. Put them into the oven until the skins blister and become black. Put the hot peppers in a plastic bag until cool, when the charred skin will be easy to peel off. Remove the seeds.

12. Blend all the ingredients together in a food processor. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add more olive oil if the salsa is too thick.

13. Serve the risotto balls with the red pepper salsa, rocket and a slice of lemon.

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