This is a very good leftovers dish that I came up with in May 2014.
I had some risotto from a previous night’s supper that was adapted from the Asparagus Risotto in River Café Book Two (I added fresh mint and peas). Any green risotto will do to make these. The rich tomato sauce is delicious with the fried-ness of the arancini (deep fried risotto balls), and the fresh tomato and herb garnish lightens the dish and brings out the greener flavours. The melty cheese filling is optional, and mozzarella would be a good alternative.
Quantities needn’t be precise for this – add more tomatoes to the sauce if you have more arancini, etc.
enough leftover risotto to make some arancini – around 1 tablespoon per risotto ball
a small amount of soft goat’s cheese or mozzarella
handful of basil leaves
handful of fresh mint, chopped
breadcrumbs – I had some panko breadcrumbs, but any will do really
300-500ml sunflower oil or flavourless cooking oil
quarter of a red onion
a packet of small ripe vine tomatoes
a sprig of a woody green herb – rosemary, or oregano or thyme
1 fresh tomato, chopped small
mint and/or oregano, torn up
¼ red onion, very finely chopped
How to make:
Halve the tomatoes and place them in an oven tray with one or two garlic cloves and some olive oil and salt and put into a low oven of 130 celsius or thereabouts for an hour.
When soft, blitz all of the tomatoes together with the garlic. Then sauté the red onion in a spoon of olive oil and add the tomato. Add ½ cup of water, some salt and sugar and simmer for a few minutes.
Meanwhile, break the egg into a bowl and whisk with a fork. Place the breadcrumbs into another bowl.
Mix the fresh basil and mint into the cold risotto and check the seasoning.
Take a spoonful of cold risotto and put into your hand and flatten out a bit, while still keeping in your hand. With the other hand, take a small blob of goat’s cheese and place in the middle of the risotto then squash up the risotto around the cheese to cover it. Roll the ball in egg, then in breadcrumbs until well covered. Repeat until you have done all of the arancini you wish to eat.
Then in a small saucepan or deep fat fryer, heat up the oil. Drop in a breadcrumb to see when it’s ready – it should fizzle.
Gently drop in 2 arancini at a time. Turn over when one side is browned. Then remove to some kitchen roll to take away excess grease.
When they are all cooked, arrange in a dish with the tomato sauce underneath and, if you have it, garnish with fresh tomato, herbs and finely diced onion.