Sicilian arancini with arrabiata sauce

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Arancini, or risotto balls as they are sometimes known, are the perfect way to make the most of leftover risotto. Paul Ainsworth's arancini recipe comes with a spicy arribiata sauce. Leave the arribiata to simmer for as long as possible, this will give it an incredible depth of flavour. The recipe makes more sauce than is needed, but it freezes very well so whip up a large batch and keep it for a rainy day.

First published in 2015
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Arrabiata sauce


  • Deep fat fryer


In a large pan, bring the vegetable stock to the boil and leave on a simmering heat
  • 600ml of vegetable stock
Melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat. Once the butter starts to foam, add the onions and bay leaves. Sweat the onions and season with salt and pepper
Add the rice to the pan and stir continuously for 2 minutes
Slowly add the hot vegetable stock, one ladle at a time, whilst constantly stirring. Keep cooking and adding the stock until the rice is slightly over-cooked and sticky
Once the rice is cooked, add the Bolognese sauce and stir until mixed with the rice. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside
  • 260ml of Bolognese sauce
Stir in the truffle flavoured oil, sherry vinegar and garlic. Mix in the Parmesan and mozzarella until combined
Remove the bay leaves and check the seasoning. Pour the mixture out into a large tray to cool. Once the risotto is cool, shape into bite-size balls
Arrange the egg whites and the breadcrumbs in separate bowls. Dip each ball into both mixtures, making sure they are completely coated. Set aside in the fridge until firm
For the arrabiata sauce, place a pan over a medium heat, sweat the onions and chillies off in the olive oil until soft
Add the cayenne pepper and smoked paprika, season well and stir. Add the balsamic vinegar and sugar to the pan. Stir and leave to reduce until the vinegar begins to thicken
Once it has reduced, add the chopped tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, Tabasco and garlic. Stir the mixture well. Leave on a low heat to simmer for at least 2 hours until it reaches a thick consistency. Keep checking the seasoning throughout
Once the sauce is almost ready to serve, lower the arancini into a deep fat fryer set at 180°C until golden all over. Divide the arrabiata sauce across 10 ramekins and serve with the arancini
First published in 2015

Southampton-born Paul Ainsworth got his break courtesy of Gary Rhodes, whom he worked for three years. After that, he moved to Gordon Ramsay's organisation, working first at his flagship Royal Hospital Road restaurant and then with Marcus Wareing at Petrus.

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