My Italian Kitchen
Chris Middleton

Throughout my childhood, these incredible arancini were always a personal favourite. When we were served up these delicious snacks, I would cut straight into the middle and hope I could make a bigger cheese string than my brother and sister, with the oozing cheesy goodness hiding in the middle of the rice.


Quantity Ingredient
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
800g tinned chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon sugar
50g basil, chopped
660g arborio rice
3 chicken stock cubes
3 eggs
75g mozzarella cheese, grated
25g parmigiano reggiano, finely grated
160g fresh breadcrumbs, plus extra if required
36 baby bocconcini balls
or 36 small cubes mozzarella cheese
canola oil, for deep-frying
sea salt flakes


  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan and sauté the onion and garlic over a medium heat until they’re a light golden colour, about 3 minutes.
  2. Purée the chopped tomatoes before adding them to the pan. Season the mixture with salt and pepper and add the sugar. Add the basil and cook over a medium heat for about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  3. While the sauce is cooking, rinse the rice under cold running water a few times. Pour 1.5 litres of water into a saucepan, add the rinsed rice and stock cubes, and bring to a boil. Then turn down the heat and continue to cook the rice until tender. This should take about 20 minutes.
  4. Once the rice is cooked, put it in a bowl and allow it to cool down a bit. Once cooled, combine with the eggs, grated cheeses and cooled sauce. If the mixture is too wet to handle, add some breadcrumbs to improve the texture.
  5. So here comes the fun part of this recipe, which is great when children are keen to get involved in the kitchen. Kids have a ball getting their hands stuck into the gooey mix and making the arancini balls.
  6. First up, roll about half a cup of mixture into a ball, stuff the middle with a bocconcini ball or piece of mozzarella, and shape the arancini ball into a pyramid shape.
  7. Continue to do this for the rest of the mixture. You should end up with about 36 arancini balls.
  8. Gently roll each arancino in the breadcrumbs and place on a tray. Refrigerate for 3 hours, or overnight.
  9. Pour canola oil into a saucepan until one-third full. Set over a high heat until the oil is approximately 180°C. To test whether the oil is ready, place a piece of breadcrumb into the oil – if it turns golden straight away, it’s ready. Add the arancini 2 or 3 at a time, depending on the size of the saucepan. They should take 3–4 minutes to cook. Turn throughout the cooking time to ensure they are evenly browned. Drain on paper towel. Continue with the remaining arancini.
  10. Sprinkle with sea salt and serve hot.
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