Baked Arancini

Well, after a glut of sweet posts, this is finally a savoury post.   And one without any chillies!  I consider risotto to be a standby meal because it’s so easy to make and most of the ingredients can be found in the cupboard, freezer or fridge.   I tend to use fresh mushrooms if I have them but it’s great with dried mushrooms, possibly better because of the stronger flavour.   I always have frozen peas in the freezer; onions, garlic and rice in the cupboard and usually parmesan in the fridge.  I haven’t included the full recipe for the risotto as I never measure how much of what I’m using and for arancini, I’m sure any risotto would do.   This time I just made extra risotto for our dinner the night before so I could be sure of having leftovers to make these.  I planned to make them in the evening but being a little greedy, there wasn’t quite enough risotto left for two people and so I made the arancini for my lunch instead.  Usually arancini are deep-fried, but I decided it would be easier, a little healthier and less messy to bake them.   I could have coated them in flour and then egg before the breadcrumbs but as the rice balls are quite sticky I just used breadcrumbs and they easily stuck to the risotto balls.  The finished result was crispy on the outside and warm and creamy inside.

As these used up leftovers I am linking them to Frugal Food Fridays which this month is being hosted by Utterly Scrummy Food for Families.


Leftover risotto (made with arborio rice, onion, garlic, bacon, mushrooms, peas, chicken stock, rosemary, thyme, parmesan)


How to Make Baked Arancini

1. Use any leftover risotto.   Form into small balls using approximately 2 teaspoons of risotto for each ball.    Roll in the breadcrumbs.

2. Place the arancini on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 30 minutes at about 200C.

I just served them with salad but I think they would be lovely with a tomato salsa.

Spaghetti with Sun-dried Tomato Pesto – Pesto alla Siciliana

Pesto is one of my quick, easy and fail-safe recipes to make whenever I don’t have much time or don’t feel like spending a long time in the kitchen.   I make it with all sorts of nuts and a variety of herbs and leaves.   However, until now, I had never made a tomato pesto – I sometimes find sun-dried tomatoes a little strong and overpowering of other tastes, but in a pesto, the parmesan is also strong and it mellows out the strength of the tomatoes.   At least, that’s what I find.

I found this recipe on Tinned Tomatoes but it is actually taken from Gino’s Pasta: Everything You Need to Cook the Italian Way,  by Gino D’Acampo.   I changed very little about the recipe.  I omitted the garlic cloves as the sun-dried tomatoes had garlic in them and I didn’t want the taste to be too garlicy, especially as we were going out after eating it!  Even if the sun-dried tomatoes hadn’t contained garlic, I think I would have used fewer than four cloves as the pesto is not cooked and I think 4 cloves would have been too strong.  I also used the oil from the jar of tomatoes instead of using olive oil as I wanted to keep the flavours that were in it.

I am linking this to Tina’s Crazy Cooking Challenge.   The theme is spaghetti with a red sauce.  I am also linking to Cookbook Sundays at Couscous and Consciousness.

Ingredients – Serves 4
50g almonds
20 basil leaves
150g sundried tomatoes in oil
80g parmesan, grated
4 garlic cloves (I omitted these as the sun-dried tomatoes contained garlic too)
Extra virgin olive oil (depending on whether you use the oil from the jar of tomatoes)
Black pepper
500g Pasta
How to make Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

1. If necessary take the skins off the almonds.    Pour boiling water over them and leave for three minutes.   Drain and then squeeze the almonds out of the skins.   Toast in a dry frying pan until lightly browned.

2. Put the tomatoes, garlic (if using) and basil leaves in a food processor, leaving most of the oil in the jar.

3. Add the almonds and continue to blend until smooth.   Add more oil if it is too dry.

4. Put the pesto in a container and mix in the parmesan and a little black pepper.

5. Cook the pasta and when it is ready, stir in the pesto.

6. Leftover pesto can be kept in the fridge and used over the next few days.

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