Stuffed rice balls

Catherine Fulvio makes 'arancini', balls of rice stuffed with ham and mozzarella - cook the rice specially or use the same technique to use up
By Catherine Fulvio
Stuffed rice balls
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4-6
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Effort: easy

Ingredients

  • pinches saffron
  • 600 g arborio rice
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 50 g freshly grated parmesan, (or pecorino)
  • 40 g Italian ham, cut into small strips
  • 1 buffalo mozzarella, finely chopped
  • plain flour seasoned with salt pepper, for dredging
  • 4 handfuls breadcrumbs
  • sunflower oil, for deep-frying

Method

1. Leave the saffron to dissolve in 125ml of warm water in a small bowl.

2. Place the rice in a lidded saucepan with the saffron water and add 1½ litres of water. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and bring the water to the boil.

3. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, lower the heat and simmer until the water is all absorbed and the rice tender - this will take about 20 minutes. Leave the rice to cool to room temperature.

4. Add the egg yolks and grated cheese to the cooked rice and mix well. In a mixing bowl, beat the egg whites briefly with a fork.

5. Brush about ½ teaspoon of egg white on the palm of your hand, press 2 heaped tablespoons of rice into it, and mould into a hollow, cup-like shell. Fill the hollow with some ham and mozzarella.

6. Cover the filling with another 1½ tablespoons of rice and use both hands to seal the filling inside to and shape into a ball, about the size of a small orange. Repeat to use up all the rice, ham and cheese.

7. Roll each ball first in seasoned flour, then in the remaining egg white and finally in the breadcrumbs.

8. Pour oil into a small heavy-based saucepan to a depth of about 15cm. Do not leave the hot oil unattended. When it is hot enough for a small piece of bread to sizzle and brown when dropped in, deep-fry the rice balls, 2-3 at a time, turning occasionally, until golden-brown on all sides. Carefully remove the rice balls and leave to drain on a plate lined with kitchen paper. Serve hot.

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