Garden Pea Courgette Arancini Balls

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arancini balls

Take risotto to the next level with these insanely crispy, bonkers tasty arancini balls. Packed with veggies and a super simple cheesy sauce, they’re vegan comfort food at its finest!

Ingredients

For the Risotto
  • 1 litre of water (boiling)
  • 1.5 tbsp bouillon powder (make sure it's a vegan variety)
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 onion (finely diced)
  • 1 clove garlic (finely diced or crushed)
  • 215 g arborio rice
  • 65 ml white wine (make sure it’s vegan)
  • 1 medium courgette (quartered lengthways and then diced)
  • 75g frozen peas
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley (chopped finely)
For the Cheese Sauce
  • 250ml soy milk
  • 1.5 T nutritional yeast
  • 4 T tapioca starch
  • ¼ t garlic powder
  • ½ t onion powder
  • 2 t white miso paste
  • ½ t fine sea salt
  • 1 t apple cider vinegar
For Frying
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 3 T gram flour
  • 8 T water
  • ½ t fine sea salt
  • 75g breadcrumbs

Instructions

To Make the Risotto

  1. Mix together the boiling water and bouillon in a medium saucepan and set over a low heat to simmer. Place a second medium saucepan over a medium heat and add the olive oil and bring to temperature.
  2. Once your oil is hot, add the diced onion and cook for two minutes or until turning translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
  3. Add the rice and stir to combine with the onion and garlic. Allow the rice to heat lightly for around a minute before adding your wine and stirring again.
  4. Once almost all of the wine has evaporated, use a ladle to spoon some hot bouillon (which should be still simmering) and pour over the rice while stirring constantly. Allow the rice to cook off most of the moisture and then add another ladle full of bouillon. When you only have one or two more ladles of bouillon remaining, add the courgette and the peas. Stir to combine and add the last of the bouillon. The whole process to this stage should take around 15-20 minutes.
  5. After all the bouillon is gone and the courgettes and peas have cooked for around 3-5 minutes, check the rice is done by tasting a small amount. If it feels gritty in the centre it’s not done, but if it feels smooth but very slightly firm, then you’re done. If the rice is not cooked, add a few more ladles of boiling water and continue to cook until it is.
  6. Once the rice is fully cooked, remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and chopped parsley.

To Make the Cheese Sauce

  1. In a measuring jug, combine all the cheese sauce ingredients and blend until smooth using a hand-blender.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Whisking constantly, cook the mixture until it thickens dramatically and becomes stringy.
  3. Add the cheese sauce to the risotto and stir well to combine.
  4. Spread the risotto out on a baking tray to allow it to cool to room temperature. Once cool, place in the fridge for at least two hours. If you’re not in a rush, cover it up and allow to chill overnight.

To Fry

  1. Place a medium, high-sided saucepan over a medium heat and fill with around 2 inches of the vegetable oil. Using a probe thermometer to monitor, bring the oil to 175c.
  2. While the oil is heating, combine the gram flour and the water in a small bowl. Place the breadcrumbs in a separate small bowl. Line a baking tray with kitchen towel and set aside.
  3. Using a cookie scoop or your hands, form the chilled risotto into golf-ball sized spheres. One by one, drop each ball into the gram flour mixture and roll it around to make sure it’s covered. Once covered, transfer it to the breadcrumbs and coat. Once coated, place the arancini on the baking tray. Repeat until all the risotto is balled and coated.
  4. Working in batches of 2-3, lower the arancini into the oil using a slotted spoon or spider. Fry for around 3 minutes or until all sides are golden brown and crispy. Remove from the oil and place on the baking tray.
  5. Serve warm with an optional sprinkle of flaky sea salt parsley. These go great with marinara sauce or pesto!
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Notes

Here are my top tips for making next-level arancini balls!

Make sure your rice is cold!

This seems like an odd one, but you’ll find the arancini about 100x easier to form and coat if your rice is fridge temperature.

arancini balls rice

Mix your cheese sauce well!

This cheese sauce serves two purposes. Firstly, it holds the rice together and keeps your arancini in shape. Secondly, when the arancini are fried, the sauce returns to a beautifully silky, mozzarella-like texture which makes biting into the arancini so irresistible. Make sure you stir it through well so it’s evenly distributed!

arancini balls cheese

Coat the arancini well!

The idea behind the gram flour mixture is that it forms a crispy layer between the risotto and the breadcrumbs and stops the cheesy sauce from escaping when fried. For this reason, make sure you roll each ball in the gram flour mixture well before coating with breadcrumbs.

arancini balls form

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