Saffron Arancini Stuffed with Bocconcini
Cook Time 1 hour and 30 minutes
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, very finely grated
1 cup (220g) arborio or other risotto rice
800ml chicken stock
1 large pinch saffron
60g parmesan, finely grated
½ lemon, zested
24 baby bocconcini
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1 cup plain flour
Extra Virgin Olive Oil or vegetable oil to deep-fry
Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes until softened. Season with salt and pepper then add garlic and cook for a further minute until fragrant. Add the rice and cook, coating with the mixture, for 1-2 minutes until toasted then add the saffron.
Heat the stock in a pot until boiling. Add half of the stock and once it is absorbed into the rice, add the rest of the stock. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium, cover and cook, stirring often, until the rice is cooked through (about 25 minutes). Add a little water if needed. Stir through the parmesan, lemon zest and season to taste. Remove from the heat and cool completely. This step can be done the day before. To cool the rice faster spread on to a large flat tray and cover with cling film.
Using 1 tablespoon of cooled risotto mixture, form into a ball. Make a dent in the centre with your finger and place a bocconcini ball in the centre. Use wet hands to enclose cheese with risotto mixture and place on the tray. Repeat with remaining risotto and bocconcini. Chill for 30 minutes to firm up.
Place the eggs, flour and panko into three separate bowls. Season each well. Coat each arancini ball in flour then egg then panko and place on a tray. Repeat with remaining balls.
Half fill a saucepan with oil and heat to 180°C. In batches deep-fry the arancini for 3-4 minutes until golden then drain on a wire rack set above a tray (this will ensure they stay crisp).
Serve warm so that the cheese oozes from the centre. Note, you can keep the arancini warm in the oven set to 100°C, while you are batch cooking the other balls.