The joy of leftovers

Mushroom arancini

Who doesn’t love leftovers? Some of the best meals are made from the scraps of the night before. I can’t be the only one who craves bubble and squeak more than the boiled cabbage and potatoes of the Sunday roast. There’s a deep satisfaction (half laziness, half frugalness) from saving myself time and effort by making the ingredients of one meal last for several nights.

And so, it was with this in mind, and before I had even eaten my risotto the other night, that I was already planning what to do with the remains. I had, obviously, made enough for a large family. A few portions were a simple re-heat job (the flavours tasting even better the next day) but it was my last batch of that mushroom and chicken laden rice that I decided to make the delicious Italian snack, arancini.

I love the contrast in textures and flavour. You’ve got a wonderfully crisp crumb, your creamy earthy risotto, and then (if you’re lucky) a milky, oozing mozzarella at its heart. That’s what I call good food.

So, here’s how I did it. I served mine with a great little tomato and garlic chutney I bought at Wells Farmers’ Market last week and salad; but, I reckon a homemade (the jarred stuff really isn’t the same) basil pesto would be just as good. Enjoy!

Serves two:

A generous bowl of cold risotto
6 baby mozzarella balls
6 tsp of tomato chutney (or pesto)
1 large free-range egg
Flour (seasoned)
1 slice of bread or a pitta bread (I always keep some spare in the freezer so I can have instant fresh breadcrumbs)
Olive oil

1. Take some risotto in your hand and make a small ball. (So that it doesn’t stick, be sure to wet your hands first.) Make a dent in the ball, add one piece of cheese and a tsp of your chutney, then add a little more risotto and close the ball up and shape into a round. Repeat until you’ve used up all the risotto. One bowl of risotto should make six arancini (three per person).

2. Roll the arancini in the flour, then egg, breadcrumbs. Meanwhile, bring your olive oil up to heat. I test the oil with a spare grain of rice or breadcrumb. When it begins to fry (without burning instantly) add your arancini. Depending on the size of your pan, I’d recommend frying them in two batches so to not overcrowd the pan and consequently reduce the heat. Turn the arancini to brown them lightly all over. The breadcrumbs should be nice and crisp, and the mozzarella melted.

That’s it. Oh, and here’s a picture of Murray for you, too. He likes the limelight.


  1. Hayley Rowe said:

    Yum! These sound great, Laura. I’ll have to give them a go.

    If I ever have any leftover butternut/pumpkin and sage risotto, I make arancini, but substitute the mozzarella for blue cheese… not exactly healthy but they taste gorgeous.


  2. Hayley Rowe said:

    No relation… 🙂

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