I made a wild mushroom arancini during the quarter-final of Britain’s Best Home Cook, which got great comments from the judges and this is one of my favourite risottos to make. However, with the first of this year’s beetroot being picked on the allotment, I couldn’t wait to use some for my different take on arancini.
Whenever I make risotto I always make far more than I need so that I can make arancini. In this recipe, the fabulous combination of beetroot, walnuts and goats’ cheese works particularly well to give crisp, yet melt-in-the-mouth nibbles.
Although I have used beetroot I picked from the allotment here, you can use the beetroot that comes ready cooked in the supermarket: just avoid the beetroot that is vac-packed with vinegar.
Recipe: beetroot, walnut and goats’ cheese arancini balls -serves 8 generously
- 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus extra for deep frying
- 50g unsalted butter
- 300g cooked beetroot, peeled and either grated or finely chopped
- 130g risotto rice
- 100ml dry white wine
- 400-450ml hot vegetable stock
- 70g walnuts, coarsely chopped
- 100g goats’ cheese of choice, chopped up into smallish lumps.
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- about 150g Panko breadcrumbs
- finely chopped chives
(1) Heat the butter and the 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pan and add the garlic and onion. Cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes or until the onion has softened and taken on a little colour.
(2) Add the risotto rice and stir well to get all the grains coated in the oil. Add the wine and stir for a few minutes until most of the wine has evaporated.
(3) Add a lable of the stock, stirring well until most of the stock has evaporated. Add about half of the beetroot and stir well.
(4) Repeat the addition of the stock, a ladle at a time, until you have used up most of the stock. Taste a grain of the rice: it shoudl be softer with just a little bite. Add more stock if needed (or, if you have run out of stock, use water) until the rice gets to this stage.
(5) Remove from the heat and stir in the rest of the beetroot, the walnuts and about half of the cheese until the cheese has melted nicely into the risotto. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and/or pepper as needed.
(6) You can eat the risotto as it is, but for the arancini balls, leave the risotto cool fully.
(7) Mix the rest of the goats’ cheese into the cool risotto. Take a heaped teaspoon of the mixure at a time and roll into balls: wash your hands every few balls to make this easier.
(8) Roll the balls in the egg and then into the breadcrumbs. You can repeat this if the risotto balls are not completely covered. Deep fry at 180C for about 6 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle over chives and serve with a dip of choice.