herb arancini topped with balsamic glaze

I wanted to make an easy Italian starter that I could prepare ahead of time. This was absolutely delicious and very easy!

This is also a brilliant idea if you ever have leftover risotto to use up. Just roll up in to balls and follow the breadcrumb and cooking steps!

You can add plenty to this recipe – prosciutto, peas, even a small chunk of mozzarella in the middle. I wanted to keep this simple though, to let the fresh herbs shine through.

I chose to serve the arancini with a quick tomato, artichoke and rocket salad.


knob of butter

1 x small onion, chopped

2 x garlic cloves, finely chopped (use 1 if large!)

150g risotto rice (arborio or carnaroli preferably)

100ml white wine

500ml hot chicken or vegetable stock

40g parmesan

salt and pepper, to taste

a small handful of fresh herbs – i used rosemary, basil, parsley and chives – finely chopped

90g plain flour

1 x egg, beaten

250g panko breadcrumbs

sunflower or olive oil, to deep fry

shop-bought balsamic glaze, to serve

makes 4 x large arancini – perfect for a starter for 2 people


  1. melt the butter in a wide set pan over a medium heat. add the onion, and soften. add the garlic.
  2. once the onion and garlic is softened (careful not to brown it), add the risotto rice and combine well. every grain should be well coated in the butter. once the grains become translucent, add the white wine and stir well.
  3. once the wine has been soaked in by the rice, start adding the hot stock a ladleful at a time and continually stir.
  4. once the rice is al dente, remove the pan from the heat. stir in the parmesan and season to taste. put in the fridge to cool.
  5. remove the cooled down mixture from the fridge, and stir in the fresh herbs.
  6. split the mixture into 4, and form each helping into a ball shape using your hands. pop the balls back in the fridge for 30 mins to help them hold their shape.
  7. remove the balls from the fridge, and roll in the flour until well coated, shaking off any excess. roll in the beaten egg mixture, then straight into the breadcrumbs. ensure they’re well coated.
  8. heat the oil in a small, deep saucepan. you can try shallow frying, but i find that the arancini often fall apart! the oil should only fill the pan by about a third, and should reach no hotter than 170ºc. you can always test the heat by dropping a breadcrumb into the oil – it should sizzle but not brown too quickly.
  9. lower the arancini into the oil using a metal slotted spoon, and cook until golden brown. this should only take a few minutes!
  10. serve and drizzle over balsamic glaze. delicious!

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