We don’t deep fry things very often tbh.
But let’s be real for a second…it does make almost everything taste so much better!
Still, usually there has to be a ridiculously good reason to drop something in a pot of sizzling oil.
Say hello to our incredibly tasty arancini balls.
We stuff these balls with a homemade sun-dried tomato pesto, which as a wonderful kick to it from the chilli flakes.
Oh, and there’s also some vegan cream cheese in there for good measure.
This balances perfectly with the tangy pesto.
What you need to know:
- The trick to a good risotto is keeping your stock on a gentle simmer. This keeps the stock hot will mean everything cooks evenly when you add the stock to the pan.
- Wet your hands when you’re shaping the balls. This will prevent the rice sticking to your fingers.
- Test if the oil is hot by dropping a few breadcrumbs into the oil. If they sizzle straight away, then the oil is hot enough. If they sink, then it’s not hot enough, but if they burn it’s too hot.
- You can use any breadcrumbs you like (including gluten-free). Also walnuts would work well as a cheaper replacement for pine nuts in the pesto.
Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Arancini Balls
How To Make Arancini Balls 🇮🇹Posted by So Vegan on Wednesday, 19 February 2020
For the arancini balls:
- olive oil, for frying
- 1 onion, peeled + finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled + finely diced
- 300g / 10.6oz arborio rice
- 150ml / 5 fl.oz vegan white wine
- 900ml / 30.4 fl.oz vegetable stock
- 1 handful of fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 lemon, juice + zest
- 4 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 6 tbsp vegan cream cheese
- 1/2 cup cornflour (cornstarch in the US)
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2 litres 70 fl.oz vegetable oil, for deep frying
- salt + pepper
For the sun dried tomato pesto:
- 2 tbsp pine nuts
- 120g / 4.2oz sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 small handful of fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 lemon, juice only
- 1/4 tsp chilli flakes
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, peeled + roughly chopped
- Drizzle a little olive oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and fry for 10 minutes or until soft, then add the garlic and fry for 2 minutes.
- Add the rice to the pan and fry for 2 minutes. Pour in the wine and simmer for 3–5 minutes or until the liquid has mostly evaporated. Meanwhile, prepare the vegetable stock in a saucepan and bring it to a gentle simmer so it remains hot. Add a ladle of stock to the pan, then stir until the liquid has been fully absorbed. Continue adding the stock a ladle at a time until the rice is cooked (this should take around 20–25 minutes). If you run out of stock, simply top up with hot water from a kettle.
- Once the risotto is ready, transfer it to a large dish and stir in the chopped parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, nutritional yeast and pinches of salt and pepper. Set the risotto to one side until fully cool.
- Next, for the pesto, put the pine nuts into a clean pan over a medium heat and toast for 2–5 minutes or until golden brown. Put them into a food processor or a pestle and mortar, along with the sun-dried tomatoes, nutritional yeast, basil leaves, lemon juice, chilli flakes, garlic, extra virgin olive oil and pinches of salt and pepper, then process or grind everything into a rough paste.
- Once the risotto rice has cooled, put the cornflour into a shallow bowl with 1/2 cup of water and whisk until fully combined. Put the panko breadcrumbs into a separate bowl. Next, scoop approximately 60g (0.2oz) or a spoonful of the rice mixture into your hand and press down to create a flat circle. Tip: wet your hands to prevent the rice sticking to your fingers. Add 1/2 a tablespoon of vegan cream cheese and 1/2 a tablespoon of pesto into the middle, then close in the edges. Spoon another 20g (0.7oz) or so of rice mixture on top to encase the filling. Use your hands to shape the mixture into a compact ball, then roll the ball in the cornflour mixture, followed by the panko breadcrumbs until it's fully coated. Repeat until you have rolled all the rice mixture into balls. You should have 12 or so balls.
- Fill a saucepan with vegetable oil until it's around 5 cm or a few inches deep. To test if the oil is hot enough, drop some breadcrumbs into the oil – if they sizzle straight away, then the oil is hot enough. If they sink, then it's not hot enough, but if they burn it's too hot. Using a slotted spoon, gently lower the balls into the oil and fry for 12 minutes, turning them every few minutes so they fry evenly. We usually cook them in batches of 4 (they'll stay warm). Then remove them from the oil and leave them to rest on paper towels. These are best eaten immediately!