Spinach arancini

Photo by Simon Lambert.
Photo by Simon Lambert.

Arancini are a great snack to make and any number of combinations and fillings can be used. I am keeping it simple and fresh today.  


Spinach arancini
Serves 4-6


¼ cup olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1½ cup arborio rice
1 cup white wine
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 litre vegetable stock, heated
2 cups chopped spinach
1 Tbsp butter
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for assembling
1 cup fresh curds or mozzarella, cut into small cubes
2 cups polenta, for crumbing
vegetable oil, for frying
lemons for serving



Begin by cooking the rice: In a large heavy-based deep pot, add the olive oil and onions and garlic, cooking gently for five minutes or until transparent and soft. Add the rice and stir well to coat in the oil and onions, add the wine and cook for a further five minutes or until the wine has been absorbed.

Now ladle in the hot stock one ladle at a time and stirring well between each addition. You don't have to be as obsessed with stirring as you would as if you were making risotto. Continue adding the stock until it has been absorbed and the rice is very tender.

Add the spinach, season to taste and stir in the butter. Add the parmesan cheese, mix well.

Spread out on to a tray to cool.

When cool enough to handle, lightly dampen hands in water and using a quarter cup measurement (approx) roll the mixture into a ball. Make a small hole in the centre and insert a small cube of curd or mozzarella. Cover the hole with the rice and roll directly into the polenta, ensuring all the rice is covered.

Place on to a tray with greaseproof paper and chill until required.

When ready to cook heat a large heavy-based deep pot to 180degC.

When hot carefully cook the arancini in batches until golden. Drain and sprinkle with a little sea salt and serve with lemon.


• Alison Lambert is one of the demonstrators at the Otago Farmers Market in Dunedin on Saturday mornings.


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