Ultimate Crispy Risotto Balls with Butternut, Crispy Sage and Aioli
Arancini, or crispy risotto balls, what could be more delicious? These cheesy Sicilian croquettes with aioli are perfect for a casual starter!
Cheesy arancini, who can resist them! These crispy Italian risotto balls are my all-time favourite. When I am private cheffing they are my go-to choice for my canapé menus. Whenever I make risotto I always double up with the intention of chilling hard the next evening; a plate of arancini piled high, an extra large dollop of Sriracha mayo on the side and the latest season of Brooklyn 99 tuned in on Netflix.
An authentic Sicilian recipe
I was lucky enough to spend 4 weeks sailing around the Sicilian islands this year. Sicily is the traditional home of arancini, and you can buy the crispy risotto balls off the street just about anywhere. Sadly the street food arancini can tend to hang around for a while before being bought. The rice goes tacky, the cheese rubbery and the ubiquitous bread crumb coating goes soggy, so they tend to be hit or miss. This proved a bit of a bummer, until I happened to meet Maria the owner of a cafe in Lipari, a cute seaside town with cobbled streets and charming alleys overflowing with hanging flowers. Her arancini were the best I’ve tasted and she kindly allowed me to watch her make a new batch to improve on my technique.
Fit for a vegan Christmas Feast
As these are always such a crowd pleaser it made perfect sense to include them as part of my snack platter starter for my Inclusive Christmas Feast recipes. Some of you may remember from previous posts, my vision for this season was to showcase a Christmas spread that would appeal to everyone. It’s the time of year for family and togetherness after all. So get ready for a seasonal, earth friendly, sometimes vegan, feast of simple, time savvy recipes for the whole family to gather around.
The challenge here was to adapt one of my all-time favourite recipes to vegan. Surprisingly that wasn’t a stretch, given all the amazing vegan alternatives that have been appearing on our shelves. So vegans, simply follow the recipe and add your vegan alternatives in when called for. This recipe is a little more complicated but 110% worth all the effort. The risotto can be made 3-4 days before, and the arancini assembled on the day.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I make this vegan?
Absolutely! Make sure to use vegan wine, mayo and dairy-free vegan cheese for the arancini of your dreams!