A few months ago a friend showed me how to make these wonderfully moorish Arancini for my friend Kate’s birthday party. It was a surprise party and everyone brought something to share, I could not be there myself so I thought I’d be there in (food) spirit..
I have been told that most food there was meat based and without any doubt cooked perfectly. Some of my friends are trained chefs or at lest passionate cooks. It appears that my Arancini were still the first ones to be gone… I am happy they liked it! I must confess this recipe takes some time to make but I promise you.. it is so worth it! I tend to make the risotto the day before so I have a little bit more time and best of all I won't burn my fingers rolling this rice balls into shape...

Ingredients:
250g arborio rice
1 medium onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 glasses of white wine
approximately 500ml of veg stock
100ml olive oil
1 good bunch of basil
teaspoon of salt
juice of half a lemon
a good hand full of crushed sunflower seeds
1 block of silken tofu

water
cornflour
panko breadcrumbs

Method:
Take a good sized pan and heat a few tablespoons of olive oil, add the onion and gently sauté until soft. Add a 1 glass of white wine and let it boil and reduce slightly, now add the rice, let the rice sauté with the onion and wine on a medium heat. When the wine has evaporated and the rice is beginning to fry start to add some stock, just 100ml and a little more wine, turn the heat to a low to medium heat, cover and let the rice absorb the stock. Give the rice a stir then add another 100ml of the stock. Cover and let the rice absorb each 100ml of stock before adding the next. When finished the rice should be plump and with no liquid left. Spread the rice on a tray and let cool.

Put rinsed and dried basil in your blender pot with a good 100ml of olive oil and a pinch of salt, the stick blender will reduce this to oil in a minute. If the oil seems really thick add a little more olive oil, we need enough to turn it through the rice and to flavour the mayonnaise. Keep aside 1/3 of the mixture for the mayo.

Place the cooled rice in a large bowl or pan and mix the rest of the basil oil through the rice, add some crushed sunflower seeds, fresh sea salt and pepper.

Optional additions at this point could be nutritional yeast to make the arancini cheesy, almond parmesan, fine chopped olives, sun dried tomatoes or other fresh chopped herbs.

Take golf ball sized scoops of rice, squash the rice together in your hand and roll in to a ball. I must admit that my husband is better than me at this.. Perhaps this is a good time to enrol someone to help you..

Place the panko crumbs in a large bowl or plastic box, drizzle over olive oil while stiring in with a fork, just enough to turn the crumbs oily looking, stir through a little salt.

Put the cornflour in a round bottomed bowl and add water making a non see through milky liquid. Place three or four arancini balls at a time in the cornflour water, gently swirl the bowl around coating the arancini,. Than roll them into the breadcrumbs shaking off the excess. place them on a tray ready for the oven. To finish, bake the arancini on a high heat, 200c for 7-8 minutes till just golden. Alternatively, arancini can also be deep fried and are often served this way.

For the mayonnaise dip:
In another measuring jug or blender pot place the drained silken tofu, lemon juice and 1/3 of the basil oil. Blitz this using the stick blender, adding salt and pepper to taste. Et Voila:

Bon Appetit!