Olive and caper arancini

By Amanda Laird

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Olive and caper arancini. Photo / Babiche Martens
Olive and caper arancini. Photo / Babiche Martens

Makes 12

3 cups vegetable stock
2 Tbs olive oil, plus extra for frying
1 onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbs capers, rinsed and chopped
1 cup risotto rice
1/2 cup white wine
Salt and pepper
50g freshly grated parmesan
12 large green pitted olives
50g taleggio cheese, rind removed
50g flour, seasoned
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups fresh or panko breadcrumbs

Cherry tomato sauce
1 Tbs olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 x 240g tinned cherry tomatoes
1 tsp good quality aged balsamic vinegar

1. To make the risotto; heat the stock in a saucepan to a gentle simmer. Heat the oil then add the onion, garlic and capers. Cook gently for 10 minutes. Add the rice and stir for 5 minutes until well coated and beginning to lightly toast. Deglaze the pan with the wine.

2. Begin adding a ladle of stock at a time, stirring after each addition as the stock is absorbed. Continue for about 30 minutes until the rice is al dente. Stir through the parmesan and check for seasoning. Turn out on to a tray and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

3. Stuff the olives with the cheese. Moisten your hand with a little water. Take a ball of risotto in your palm then make an indent with your thumb. Pop the olive inside then close your hand, encasing the stuffed olive with risotto. Smooth the surface. Roll in the seasoned flour, then into the beaten egg and finally into the breadcrumbs.

4. Preheat oven to 200C. Heat a pan, pour in just enough oil to cover the surface. Cook arancini until golden all over. Transfer to a baking dish and cook for a further 15 minutes.

5. To make the sauce; heat the olive oil in a saucepan, add the garlic and cook gently for 2 minutes. Add the paprika, thyme and tomatoes. Simmer for 15 minutes then add the balsamic. Taste for seasoning before serving with the arancini.

- NZ Herald

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