Munch on crunchy filled risotto croquettes
Munch on crunchy filled risotto croquettes

Munch on crunchy filled risotto croquettes

Risotto croquettes, or arancini, are like the perfect food surprise. With their golden crispy exterior, your mouth begins to water at the thought of the satisfying crunch that awaits. But the true magic comes when you take that first bite – that warm oozing cheesy gift that lies beyond the rice. Hungry yet? Then maybe you should make a batch of your own. Sicily is renowned for its arancini – you’ll find a multitude of sizes and fillings almost everywhere you go. In her latest book, Flavours of Sicily, Ursula Ferrigno explores Sicilian cuisine at its finest – from vibrant to light soups and pasta dishes, and of course, arancini.

1 1⁄3 cups arborio rice
a generous pinch of saffron strands
1 1⁄3 cups freshly grated Pecorino cheese
100 g young Pecorino cheese, cut into cubes
100 g cooked ham, cut into cubes
100 g passata/strained tomatoes, mixed with 2 crushed garlic cloves
a handful of flat-leaf parsley, freshly chopped
3 tablespoons Italian ‘00’ flour
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1⁄4 cups dried breadcrumbs
olive oil or groundnut oil, for frying
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Cook the rice in salted water for approximately ten minutes. Add the saffron and continue to cook for eight more minutes until sticky. Drain and place the rice onto baking paper-lined baking trays, spreading the rice out to a thickness of 1 cm.

Place a 6-cm round cutter or a tumbler over the surface of the rice to create individual portions of rice. Allow the rice to cool.

Place the grated cheese, cubed cheese, ham, one teaspoon of the passata/strained tomatoes and some parsley on each of the rice rounds. Season well.

Using a palette knife, lift the rounds off the baking sheets and form them into balls, carefully sealing in the filling. I place the round in the palm of my hand like a nest and squeeze gently to seal.

Dip the rounds in the flour, egg and breadcrumbs and deep fry until golden in plenty of oil. Lift out of the oil and drain on paper towels.

Arancini are best served warm.

Makes 8–12 arancini.

This is an edited extract from Flavours Of Sicily by Ursula Ferrigno, published by RPS. Available in stores nationally.

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